The spokesperson for former President John Mahama, Joyce Bawa Mogtari has defended a promise by his boss to free jailed small scale miners if voted into power.
John Mahama on Thursday, October 22, 2020, promised to grant amnesty to Ghanaians currently behind bars for mining offences if he is voted into power on December 7, 2020.
Mr. Mahama expressed concerns about why a Chinese national was freed while Ghanaians are imprisoned for the same mining offence.
Speaking to the issue in an interview, Joyce Bawa stated that John Mahama has a plan that will help these offenders work legally and with the environment in mind.
“Galamsey has had its very dire ramifications on the environment, on water bodies and many others, and yes, there was a time when these people were supposed to pay fines or be convicted. But, Mr. Mahama has a policy for small scale miners to continue to be granted these licenses but will be monitored, so they can undertake responsible mining.”
She added that illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’ was borne out of a need for people to have a source of income and a livelihood.
The spokesperson for John Mahama stated that some of the cases from galamsey will be looked into once NDC comes into power.
“Some of the cases of galamsey will need to be revisited and reinvestigated. Some of these people have been unfairly held against their will. In my opinion, persons arrested for galamsey offences can first be fined, and then, if you’re unable to pay, you are made to serve a prison sentence. There were undertones of politics in the galamsey issue.”
Mrs. Bawa reiterated that “If kingpins of galamsey like Aisha Huang are set free, why should Ghanaian indigenes, who have rights to those lands be serving 2-year sentences?”