Environmental destruction in 21st Century must be a serious concern –Asantehene
His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has expressed worry about why environmental degradation is rife in Ghana in the midst of 21st Century, where issues about the environment are topical and concerning to all.
According to the Golden Stool occupant, in the years of yore, their forbearers, who lived in less technological worlds protected forest reserves and did not build in waterways and hold river bodies sacred.
However, in this modern era, where knowledge abounds, Ghanaians are ironically destroying water bodies, with sacred forest reserves which have become allowable areas for trespassing.
“We have responsibilities to protect wetlands. Back off from the forest reserve, which was the order of the day in the years of yore and not to develop lands in prohibited areas”, he urged.
Subsequent to this, Asantehene has urged traditional leaders to refrain from acts which degrade the environment in order to have the temerity in confronting such challenges in their respective communities.
Addressing the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs at the Manhyia Palace this week, Osei Tutu II reprimanded the illegal destruction of lands, underscoring that issues about the environment ought to be taken seriously.
The meeting was attended by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah.
On the means by which government issues licenses to miners in the region, Opemsuo expressed worry that permits are issued by the state, without the knowledge of Nananom.
Nevertheless, the Ashanti monarch underscored that traditional leaders are mindful about how mining activities are carried out in their catchment areas, hence they help to report challenges to the state to protect the environment.
Whilst Opemsuo indicated that sections of Small-Scale Miners have license to operate, the same cannot be said of the others, a development he indirectly disclosed to the Ashanti Regional Minister and government for antidote.
Disclosing how serious the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs are passionate about issues bordering on environmental degradation in the Ashanti region, the Asantehene disclosed that Stool Lands Committee have met the Forestry Commission and Environmental Protection Agency to deliberate on mining along the shores of River Oda and the Forest Reserve.
Touching on Chiefs who are meddling in open politics, Otumfuo Osei Tutu noted that if chieftaincy was not beneficial to Ghana, it would not have been in existence.
He opined that chiefs are blamable because chieftaincy had long been established before the inception of democracy and governance in Ghana by the western world.
He said, “Sometimes, we forget ourselves and thereby become submissive to politicians. We have stayed apolitical and let the public be aware of our stand, in that, in an event of uneasy calm amongst politicians, traditional leaders are arbiters, so if we engage in politics, then we are not helping matters.
He emphasised that Chiefs work with the government of the day, whom they expect developmental infrastructure from, so they should protect the sanctity of chieftaincy.
According to the Otumfuo, all chiefs support political parties of their choice, but the constitutions debars them from openly participating in politics. We have the right to vote, but not to openly engage in politics.
The Asantehene noted that the Ghana constitution prohibits chiefs from taking sides in politics, stressing that since they have followers of different political persuasions they must be neutral, but if they find themselves in an electoral booth, they can vote for whoever they think is their choice .
Whilst Otumfuo Osei Tutu II acknowledged that the novel Coronavirus has hampered the smooth running of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, they will meet again before the end of the year.
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a stir in Ghana, but by the Grace of God and good works of the government, the situation is being brought under control.
However, the Otumfuo noted the pandemic is not over, reminding Nanano that it is their duty to see to it that the pandemic is finally kicked out.