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Gyampo: It doesn’t make sense to burn galamsey excavators

The associate professor in the political science department of the University of Ghana says burning the excavators does not make economic sense

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  • "The president should rethink the whole approach... it is good we fight galamsey but it's bad we destroy these same equipment we need to reclaim the land."

Professor Ransford Gyampo, an associate professor in the political science department of the University of Ghana, has questioned the logic behind the government’s “burn-on-sight” policy in the fight against galamsey.

Military personnel leading the war against illegal mining in an exercise code-named “Operation Halt II” have been instructed to burn all heavy equipment at illegal mining sites, including excavators.

The directive has provoked mixed feelings, prompting President Akufo-Addo to tell those against the move to seek redress in court.

“I know there are some who believe that the ongoing exercise of ridding our water bodies and forest zones of harmful equipment and machinery is unlawful and in some cases harsh,” said Akufo-Addo at the sod-cutting ceremony for the first phase of the Law Village, proposed facilities for the Ghana School of Law to expand legal education in Ghana, situated in the academic enclave near the University of Ghana Business School.

“I strongly disagree and I will advise those who take a contrary view to go to court to vindicate their position if they so wish. That is what the rule of law is all about,” the president said.

“Doesn’t make sense”

But, reacting to the development, Gyampo declared that “it doesn’t make sense”.

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Friday 28 May 2021, he argued: “If you’re going to burn excavators and you’re going to use money to procure same for land reclamation it doesn’t make sense. It makes you overly emotional.”

He argued that the president must give the Minister of National Security “a clear instruction” to  find a safe place to keep the seized excavators for “future land reclamation use” instead.

“The president should rethink the whole approach … it is good we fight galamsey but it’s bad we destroy this same equipment we need to reclaim the land.

“National Security can find a yard and put them there. Let the seizure of galamsey excavators be done by the state … and anybody who fails should be brought to book,” Gyampo said.

“Palpable illegality”

Fred Amankwah, the president of the Doctoral Researchers Association of Ghana, agreed with Gyampo, saying: “Burning the equipment is a bit difficult to accept.”



Meanwhile, the pressure group OccupyGhana has also condemned the “burn-on-sight” policy.

“The president knows that he is wrong, and that no interpretation of the clear language of his government’s own 2019 amendment supports the current ‘burn-on-sight’ policy,” a statement from OccupyGhana said. “And that is why we find the president’s ‘go to court’ challenge unfortunate.

“It is a bet on the factor of time and expense that ordinary Ghanaians would have to spend in fighting in court, to allow the government [to] perpetrate this palpable illegality and grave unconstitutionality.”

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