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General News of Thursday, 27 May 2021


Burning excavators: Akufo-Addo’s comments ‘seemed like mob justice endorsement’ – Suhuyini

Alhassan Suhuyini, Tamale North MP Alhassan Suhuyini, Tamale North MP

Tamale North MP Alhassan Sayiba Suhuyini has said President Nana Akufo-Addo’s endorsement of the burning of galamsey excavators appears to be an endorsement of mob justice.

Speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the Law Village Project in Accra on Wednesday, 26 April 2021, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo asked his critics to go to court for redress if they were unhappy with his approach.

The President said: “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”.

“I strongly disagree, and I would 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 Ghana Law Reports of modern times are littered with cases in which my clients thought it necessary to challenge government action. On the majority of occasions, the courts upheld my contentions, in a few others, they did not.

Reacting to the president’s comments, the main opposition National Democratic Congress lawmaker told journalists in parliament that “for someone of his calibre, supposed to be a lawyer of long-standing, the comments that he made after that particular suggestion that people could go to court, was a bit disturbing to me”.

For example, Mr Suhuyini argued that for the president to have suggested that “no rights could accrue to anybody engaged in an illegal enterprise”, he to be pronouncing judgment on the people involved even before they step in court.

“And, if you know how our system works and especially the perceptions around the system and how it works, you would be careful, as a president engaged in what he’s engaged in, through the military, asking people to go to court and not stopping there but just giving a final judgment on the matter that no rights could accrue [to the suspects] and for me, it actually seemed like an endorsement of mob justice”, Mr Suhuyini noted.

He explained: “I said the president’s comments seemed like an endorsement of mob justice because it sounded as if to say that if one is caught in the act of stealing, anything else done to that person, like slapping or kicking and beating is alright”.

“That is, perhaps, the kind of mindset with which the president is approaching this fight against galamsey”, the MP said.

He intimated that “nobody is against this fight and nobody calling for a better approach in winning the fight, is anti-this fight”.

The president, he said, “must get that clear”.

Mr Suhuyini said the calls for a better approach are informed by “one, our past and the fact that we have embarked on this journey of burning of excavators before and the fact that such acts led to further burdens of judgment debts on the state in some cases and, so, the president cannot be so sure that these military officers will not engage in excesses, as they embark on this destruction, that would lead to the state having to cough out money to compensate people by way of judgment debt because it has happened before”.