The Municipal Chief Executive for Suhum, Madam Margaret Darko, has condemned the group embarking on a six-day walk urging government to rescind its decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest and advocating for the protection of the reserve.
The group, calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, began its walk on Sunday to urge the government to revise its decision.
The group walked from Apedwa to Suhum on Tuesday and paid a courtesy call on the Suhum chief Osabarima Ayeh Kofi, who warmly welcomed them and received their petition.
However, the outspoken Municipal Chief Executive, who refused to receive the group’s petition when they went to her office, accused the organizers of conniving with certain individuals in a bid to undermine President Akufo-Addo’s government.
She stated that these individuals had not protested when the operations of illegal miners were destroying water bodies, suggesting that their response to the government’s plans was hypocritical.
“About 15 years ago when the small-scale miners were destroying farmlands and water bodies where was this group called concerned citizens? But now that President Nana Addo wants to provide jobs for youth suddenly this group comes out protesting. Nana Addo will not just rise up and say he is coming to destroy water bodies, I know feasibility studies have been conducted already and the site has been visited so I think it would have been wise for some leaders of your group to approach the Presidency or Chief of Staff on a one-on-one level and discussed this rather than demonstrating on the roads,” she told the group’s leaders.
She continued, “this act of yours is very bad. You are showing and sending bad signals that people in the President’s hometown have risen against his decision to mine bauxite at Atewa but I know certain individuals have put you guys up to this to take the president on. Am really not happy about this thing you are doing and I do not support your walk.”
Margaret Darko, outraged by the group’s protest, advised them to rather embrace government’s decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest to help provide jobs for youth in the area.
“The government is not at war with the citizens. If a government comes to power and promises residents of the provision of jobs I believe it is a good thing that needs backing from all of you because the unemployed youths will all be employed. The issue of unemployment has become a burden for us all as we always think about it and make daily deliberations on it. When people come to influence you to do such things ask yourselves, what you guys will achieve in the future and the implications of it. I must say you cannot force me to take your petition but I am offering you a piece of advice, next time think about the implications of your acts.”
The leadership of the group were however dumbfounded by the utterances of the Municipal Chief Executive but went on to plead with her to accept and consider the petition.
The convenor of the group, Mr Daryl Bosu assured her that their actions were not politically or individually motivated but are solely to protect the source water for the over 5 million Ghanaians who directly benefit from water from the river Densu, Ayensu and Birim which take their source from the Atewa forest.
By: Neil Nii Amatey Kanarku/citifmonline.com/Ghana