Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called for a renewed sense of sanitation, value and respect for the country’s water bodies.
He also called on drivers to drive carefully on the roads and endeavour to maintain their cars to avoid preventable vehicle crashes.
Mr. Rawlings said the dumping of refuse, feaces and open defecation in our water bodies was a clear lack of respect and value for our water bodies which also serve as a source of direct drinking water for many.
Speaking at the annual festival of the chiefs and people of Dagbamete to celebrate the revered Apetorku on Sunday, Mr. Rawlings said: “The most important resource for survival is clean air, the second most important is water. I have on several occasions advocated the need for us to take care of water bodies but some of us are simply incorrigible. We do not see the honour of God in the water we have at our disposal. The spirit of God is in both air and water.”
Former President Rawlings addresses the gathering
Commending the people of Ada for their reverence for their water bodies, former President Rawlings stated that a party organizer recently informed him that the people of Ada do not wash, bathe or dump rubbish in the Volta River.
“They have so much reverence for their water body because they drink directly from it. Unfortunately the people of Ada are at the very end of the lengthy river, which carries downstream, all the rubbish and filth dumped upstream. They should probably be up there where it's cleaner but they are at the receiving end.
“If one is seen spitting into the water it means that person is a stranger. If people want to wash they fetch water from the river to do so. They don’t wash in the river. All visitors are compelled to live by their norms,” the former President said.
Mr. Rawlings also commended the people of Dagbamete for their sense of cleanliness saying he accepted the invitation to attend the festival because of the social sense of responsibility, discipline and self-help initiatives that the people of Dagbamete are known for.
The former President also called on drivers to always drive carefully and regularly maintain their vehicles, including checking the quality of their vehicle tyres. He informed the gathering that he had received assurances from the Interior Minister that plans were afoot to start prosecuting people for irresponsible driving that kills and maims people.
“When we leave here we should drive carefully. When you are tired or you refuse to check your tyres and there is an accident you shouldn’t say it is the doing of God. It is your irresponsibility. In other developed countries you will be charged for manslaughter, tried and jailed. But here in Ghana we just call it accident and leave it. Why can’t we feel safe on our roads?” he asked.
President Rawlings and Togbe Sri cut the tape to commission the new community centre
Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings also called for a renewed sense of family planning saying we should be responsible for all unplanned births instead of insisting it is the will of God. He indicated that family planning was a recognition of one’s responsibility to himself and family and the desire to improve one’s standard of living. He cautioned that if we did not manage births responsibility our population would outstrip valuable resources such as water, indicating that in places like Cape Town in South Africa and some areas of Pakistan water scarcity was already a major problem.
The former President later joined the Awoemefia of the Anlo Traditional Area, Togbe Sri III to commission a new community centre built by the people of Dagbamete.
The people of Dagbamete who are predominantly adherents of the African Traditional Religion have with the support of Apetorku Gbodzi constructed a clinic with a doctor’s bungalow and nurses’ quarters, a computer laboratory, teachers’ quarters, a public toilet and also installed street lights over the past ten years.