Former President Jerry Rawlings and other speakers at a brief June 4 anniversary celebration on Thursday took turns to express shock at the loss of lives from the torrential rains of Wednesday June 3.
The speakers related the disaster to the indiscriminate siting of fuel stations near residential areas as well as the siting of buildings on waterways, and charged the relevant authorities not to shirk their responsibilities.
Former President Rawlings expressed his disgust at the indecent levels of corruption, which have manifested in the indiscriminate siting of properties on waterways leading to the flooding witnessed recently. He cautioned Ghanaians to be mindful of the ideals of June 4 and advised Ghanaians to be each other’s keeper.
Flt Lt Rawlings sympathized with the families of the deceased and questioned who will cater for their fees and upkeep. The pursuit of money he bemoaned, had led to a state of mindlessness and irresponsibility.
“The dog eat dog mentality must give way. We should do away with the ‘everyone for himself’ mentality. We should see each other as siblings,” the former President said.
This year’s celebration, which marked 36 years of the June 4 uprising, was brief because the former President, leader of the uprising, was keen to visit some of the disaster areas.
Wreaths were laid to remember the fallen heroes followed by short solidarity messages.
National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Adams in expressing his sympathies for the loss of lives in the fire and floods, said indiscipline was primarily to blame. He said June 4 happened as a result of the pervasive levels of inaction and stated it was time to rethink and relive the spirit of June 4 because the ideal of the era was about every citizen taking responsibility in shaping the national agenda.
Adams said: “We need to once again rededicate ourselves to cleaning the system. Let’s join hands in fighting corruption. The fighting spirit that was imbibed in us 36 years ago must live on. We must continue to do what is good and right and together we can change our country.”
Alhaji Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah, National Treasurer of the NDC questioned the quality of designs most state engineers produce for the constructions of roads and drains and said until such engineers come out during the rains to assess the flow of water, they cannot produce effective flood drains capable of protecting human life. He admonished Ghanaians who are given different levels of responsibility to handle such roles with a patriotic zeal for the good of the country.
The Paramount Chief of Nungua, King Odaifio Welentsi II said the ideals that led to the establishment of the NDC – probity, accountability, integrity and transparency had been relegated to the background. The NDC, he stated, stands for the truth and every effort must be made to restore those values. He questioned why as a traditional ruler he regularly sanctions people who misappropriate funds as low as 100 cedis but many are walking free at the national level having stolen more than 20 million cedis.
The Nungua Mantse also cautioned against the indiscriminate siting of property on waterways and said such levels of indiscipline were alien to the ideals of June 4. He called for unity and discipline in the manner Ghanaians confront national issues.
Volta Regional Minister Helen Ntoso sympathized with the victims of the floods and stated that Ghanaians should endeavour to concentrate on preventive measures. She cautioned agencies that issue permits for fuel stations and other delicate installations to do proper assessment before issuing such permits.
“We should ensure that we educate each other on doing the right things. I also call on women who are most vulnerable during such disasters to ensure that they dispose of refuse appropriately,” Madam Ntoso said.
Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, a former Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the NDC said there was the need to fight corruption at all levels of society. He also urged the youth to imbibe the ideals of June 4 and 31st December, as they will require those standards when they take over as leaders of our country.
The former President and other dignitaries at the anniversary event later visited the GOIL station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where over seventy people lost their lives in a fire. He said structures that had been built on waterways should be permanently removed. He commended members of the security agencies who had worked round the clock to put out the fire and protect lives.