Former Head of State and President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, has been honoured with the Marcus Garvey Award.
In a speech read on his behalf at the first Marcus Garvey Awards Ball and Banquet, organised by the Black Star Line Credit Union at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, on Saturday, August 18, Rawlings restated the need for African countries to eschew corruption and greed, noting that it “will never bring Africa any good fortune.”
Continuing, he said: “It will only destroy the society and impoverish the people. It will lead to the disconnect that invariably leads to a revolution. That is what happened to my generation. You have the opportunity to make sure the consequences of greed and social injustice as experienced in generations past do not repeat in yours. Do not be overtaken by greed. Do not use it as an opportunity to short-change your people. Use your financial security responsibly. Use it for Africa.
“As humans, we have lived a huge catalogue of uncivilised behaviour. Our continued mental, political and socio-economic slavery is testament to the devastating repercussions of unbridled greed and unchecked excess. The insatiable quest to control wealth and power has led us down a spiral of consumerism which has resulted in a retrogressive civilisation.”
He lamented the seeming inaction of “so-called 'educated powers'” who “dismiss global warming as a natural phenomenon, and called for more efforts to address the consequences of climate change.
His words: “As the debate has raged on with insistent cautions about the damage to the environment, others have found reasons and ways to argue the opposite.
“However, our excess materialism has led us to such indiscipline as to erode layers off our natural protection. Whatever we do not accept, surely, we can feel! Right here in the tropics, the unbearable and unpredictable weather is being experienced by all! If we could have done anything to ameliorate this burning heat, we should have left our forests alone or seriously addressed re-afforestation and planting. This used to be a part of our national culture - with school kids, civil society, women’s groups, churches and all manner of organisations planting trees.”
Citing Libya, Kenya and just North of Ghana, Burkina Faso, who “have engaged in an admirable re-afforestation drive”, he also commended President Akufo Addo on the recent launch of the Youth in Afforestation Programme aimed at re-afforestation, forest rehabilitation and forest protection, and entreated “all to embrace this as a national project for our own future, survival and as our duty to the earth".
He paid glowing tributes to the memory of Marcus Gavey, and commended the organisation for the honour.