A security analyst, Dr. Kwesi Aning, has described as unfortunate suggestions by First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, for a shoot-to-kill approach in dealing with illegal miners in the country.
According to him, the comment puts Ghana in bad light in terms of respect for human rights.
“I don’t think we should be shooting people. No nation on earth, as a democracy advocates for the murder of its citizens irrespective of what crime they do. Shoot-on-site policy is something that we do in emergencies. We have not reached there yet. I think that statement has done a massive damage to Ghana internationally that we have a shoot-to-kill policy for people who we profile and we may be wrong in profiling those people. It is most unfortunate,” he said.
Joseph Osei Owusu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bekwai Constituency, suggested the joint military and police anti-galamsey task force fighting illegal mining in various parts of the country adopts a shoot-to-kill approach in dealing with illegal miners destroying the country’s water resources.
While making a contribution on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Osei-Owusu said he would have issued a directive to that effect.
But some have condemned him for the comment and described it as reprehensive.
Meanwhile, the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has also backed the suggestion saying that the country has treated illegal miners with kid gloves for far too long.
Given the precarious state of Ghana’s natural resources like vegetation and water bodies, Mr. Mensah-Bonsu said that taking lives to protect the environment is justified by the constitution.
Backing his claim with Article 13 of the Constitution which says “no person shall be deprived of his life intentionally except in the exercise of the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana of which he has been convicted,” the caucus leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said, “I do not think that the constitution, in so far as a matter is criminal, frowns upon the use of force to the extent that it may even deprive some other people of their lives. The constitution does not talk about that at all… Mr. Speaker, if we agree that what was going on was criminal, the constitution doesn’t forbid any person trying to prevent the commission of that crime from pursuing that person and asserting force which may even result in death.”
NPP MP kicks against shoot-to-kill proposal in galamsey fight
Meanwhile, New Patriotic Party [NPP] MP for Manso Adubia in the Ashanti Region, Yaw Frimpong, has said the suggestion for a shoot-to-kill approach in dealing with illegal miners in the country is inappropriate.
The MP, whose constituency is one of the worst affected by the activities of illegal miners believes a more pragmatic approach should be adopted.
He is of the view that a shoot-to-kill approach will not end the menace.