Deputy Speaker under fire over his shoot-to-kill advocacy

Joseph Osei-Owusu, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament

Deputy Speaker of Parliament has courted the anger of some members of the house with his controversial shoot-to-kill advocacy against illegal miners.

Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini said the remark by Joe Osei Owusu was not only reckless but a dent on the reputation of Parliament.

While the Deputy Speaker was entitled to his opinion, Mr Fuseini said the floor of Parliament was a completely wrong platform for a statement like that to be made by a person of such high standing.

“I think the statement was very reckless to be made on the floor of the House. The first Deputy Speaker is entitled to his own views. He could make it on other platforms but not whilst sitting in the seat as the First Deputy Speaker in Parliament.

“The very core of our existence as Parliament is to make laws for the smooth administration of this country. We are the champions or the bastions of the protection of the liberties and freedoms of this country,” he said.

He added the most prudent thing for the Deputy Speaker to have done was to call the minister and demand for the repeal of the current mining law; advocate for a stiffer punishment, including the death penalty for illegal miners if it is the case that the current mining law is not deterrent enough.

Shoot-to-kill policy

The Deputy Speaker who was livid with the wanton destruction of the environment by illegal miners advocated for a stiffer punishment, including the power for the military to shoot on sight persons found to be engaging in illegal mining.

He was commenting on a statement by Kumbungu MP Ras Mubarak who, on the floor of Parliament, protested the burning of 14 trucks and excavators used for sand winning close to the Dalun river in Tamale in the Northern Region.

The sand winners were said to have polluted the Dalun river which served as a major source of water for the people in Tamale.

The burning of the trucks and excavators by the military was a drastic measure taken to stop the illegal miners from going ahead with their activity.

But the Minority in Parliament said the action by the government is illegal. It is asking for compensation to be paid to the illegal miners.

In what appears to be a defence of the action by the Military, the Deputy Speaker said stiffer punishment must be imposed on illegal miners.

He said if he had his own way, he would call for a law that will allow the military to shoot and kill persons found to be engaging in illegal mining.