President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as an integral part of his crusade against degradation in our countryside, Friday launched the ‘Green Ghana’ project.
We would recall that the last time any Ghanaian President seriously mooted such an initiative was in the 80s – about 40 years ago.
Ghana’s economy then was in a mess, threatened further by an odious mix of bushfires and drought that pushed the socio-economic fortunes of the nation to the brink.
Our gold, cocoa, timber as well as manufacturing sectors, had almost collapsed and our national coffers awfully denuded.
Because of the then prevailing political mess, we had been abandoned by the international community, with no friends to turn to – whether in Africa or Asia; or Russia, China and Cuba. It was a hopeless situation.
Unemployment, layoffs and so-called redeployment programmes that meant nothing in terms of livelihoods were the dinner that was served citizens. That situation prevailed until the Breton Woods institutions intervened with a restructuring dose, culminating in some modest lease of life into our socio-economic circumstances.
As for the health and educational sectors, it was ‘cash and carry’, as desperate parents forced kids into ‘private’ classes and Shylock ‘private’ schools, mushroomed to escape the accompanying disaster.
When the late Jerry John Rawlings rallied the nation together for a tree-planting campaign, the response, particularly among the youth, was positive. We moved on.
Forty years on, the picture is no longer one of doom and gloom but hopes and great expectations.
Since the incumbent NPP administration took power, under President Nana Akufo-Addo, there have been appreciable development in nearly every sector.
From agriculture and manufacturing through education and health to infrastructural development, the records have been fantastic, considering where we were coming from.
While we collectively slept, however, we were awoken to a rape of our national heritage, which is embodied in our minerals, beaches, forests, rivers and lake. Before we could say ‘Jack,’ the negative impact of the mess had reverberated into some of our neighbouring countries, with threats on the part of the global community to blacklist our cocoa.
This is because rivers and forests have no boundaries.
As the President has pointed out, the negative implications are so many that unless we invest into the future by backing the fight against galamsey with a major reclamation effort, particularly by tree planting initiatives, time would run out against us.
Fortunately for us, a large section of the youth in communities in illegal mining, having been made aware of the implications of their acts of impunity, are joining the fight to the point of open confrontation with armed bandits in mining.
That’s a slap in the face of the loony politician who sits on the airwaves in Accra and Kumasi engaging in bite-and-blow propaganda. But that’s also the point at which victory can be assured.
Worthy crusade for youth
It is at this point that we call on all Ghanaians, particularly the youth, to avail themselves not only in sustaining the crusade against galamsey, but also investing daily in tree planting – from urban areas into the very communities our youth come from.
With our revered traditional rulers and religious leaders also involved in this crusade of restoring our depleted forest, we can be sure that Ghana will work again.