June 4 Anniversary: Rawlings lashes out at senseless abuse of rivers, lakes
Former President, Jerry John Rawlings has condemned environmental degradation in the country, blaming the situation on the weakness of government to curb abuse.
Speaking at the 37th Anniversary of the June 4 uprising he said if government does not move the tackle the situation, the country’s lakes and rivers would become heavily polluted.
The former head of state said there is a global water crisis and advised against the abuse of water bodies.
“In our country, the situation has become dire because of the abuse of our water bodies through the dumping of non-degradable wastes like plastics, metals, chemicals and other poisonous materials.
“It is further exacerbated by the senseless abuse of our rivers and lakes in the new-found craze for illegal mining. It is tragic to see rivers such as Ankobra, Pra, Offin and parts of the Volta which use to provide portable water to huge communities now turn into a flow of mud and grime,” the ex-President remarked.
Photo: Messrs Nunoo Mensah, Kunbuor and Afotey Agbo lit the perpetual flame
He said since he left office he has watched the brutal hacking down of trees and warned of dire environmental consequences if the trend is not curbed.
"Trees that were planted along the Tema motorway to Akosombo road were brutally hacked down a few months ago. Not even the traders who have decided to colonise the shoulders of our urban roads could protect these trees.
"Nothing reflects our irresponsibility and indiscipline more than the neglect of our environment. Nothing reflects the poor standard andauthority of a government as the environment. Nothing reflects the lawlessness in a country as the neglect of its environment. The protection of the environment is the quickest way for a government or local authority to demonstrate its sense of discipline. By contrast, the corruption of the environment is the quickest way to degrade our human self-worth, and a government or local authority that would butcher trees or watch the degrading of its environment, cannot expect people to behave responsibly in other facets of their life, or respect their government," he said.
The former President also revealed that his outspoken stance against corruption was met with disdain from some "cowards" in government.
“I have spoken a few times about these serious observation and received the usual abuse and tribulations from cowards who in their delusion assume their ill-acquired wealth makes them untouchable regardless of the power and conviction of the ordinary hardworking and liberal people of this country.”
The June 4th Uprising
The June 4 uprising was a violent uprising in 1979 that arose out of a combination of perceived corruption, bad governance, lack of discipline and frustrations in the army. It was sparked when the then military government of the Supreme Military Council of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow the government on May 15th 1979.
Rawlings however turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption.
On the night of June 3, 1979, junior military officers broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held, freed him, and took him to the national radio station to make an announcement. The first thing the public heard from Rawlings is the now iconic statement that he, Rawlings, had been released by the junior officers, and he requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra.
This was followed by the rounding of up senior military officers including three former heads of states; General Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong and Afrifa for trial and subsequent execution by firing squad.