Gov’t Apologises for the Death of Margatet Kuwornu

…32 Years after she was killed by a Stray Bullet

The Government of the Republic of Ghana has rendered an apology for the death of Margaret Kuwornu, thirty-two years after she was killed.

Margaret Kuwornu was shot dead by a stray bullet in a police raid on salt winners in the Songor Lagoon at Bonikope in Ada on Friday 17th May 1985, following calls from the management of Vacuum Salt Company Limited that some communities around the lagoon had encroached on their concession in the lagoon.

The communities along the Songor lagoon had expressed dissatisfaction over the newly introduced model of privatization that increasingly posed a threat to communal access to the lagoon as a source of livelihood.

The communities had been demanding a return to the communal values that recognised collective ownership of the Ada Songor lagoon and insisted that those who lived closest to the resource must have an unrestricted right to it.

The current District Chief Executive of the Ada West District, Mr Adzoteye Larwer Akrofi, who made the apology on the behalf of Government for the death of Margaret Kuwornu, a pregnant woman at the time of her death, called on the family of the deceased and the people of Bonikope, in the Ada Traditional Area and pleaded that they get over the series of events surrounding her “painful” death.

“We all know about the stray bullet that killed Margaret Kuwornu, it was not intentional but accidental. It should never have happened. Her death is deeply regretted and that is why former President Jerry John Rawlings came here when the incident occurred to mourn with her family.”

He was speaking at an event organised by the Ada Songor Salt Women’s Association (ASSWA) to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the death of Margaret Kuwornu popularly referred to as “Maggie”.

According to the District Chief Executive, the administration of President Akufo Addo will do all it can to avoid the near occurrence of such an incident in the future by putting in place a conflict resolution mechanism with regard to the management of salt and all other resource in the country.

Mr Larwei Akrofi said “I hate violence in my life and this government also hates violence but we believe in dialogue. Even in Palestine where there have been many years of war, the people will have to sit and dialogue in the end. Please resist the temptation to pick up arms and violence and let us jaw-jaw”

Daniel Wudome, a special assistance to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, … John Peter Amewu, said the new government was conscious of all the challenges surroundings the exploitation of natural resources across the country including the currently topical issue of Galamsey.

According to him, President Akufo-Addo has decided that natural resources must be exploited in an environmentally friendly manner and will ensure that all resources endowed the country is held to the benefit of all.

Mary Akuteye, President of the Ada Songor Salt Women’s Association insisted that PNDC Law 287 is the only legal framework which recognised the traditional communal access to the Songor for the people of Ada and for every Ghanaian on an equitable basis.

She therefore called on the Akufo-Addo led government to uphold PNDC Law 287 which instructs that the “Songor should be developed for the benefit of its contiguous communities and in the public interest”.

She also condemned the growing phenomenon of Atsiakpo- the creation of dug out pits around the Songor lagoon- into which water from the lagoon is siphoned for the production of salt.

According to her, this invention mostly introduced by major salt producing companies and by some wealthy individuals and chiefs, impacted adversely on the lagoon and led to the marginalization and enslavement of many women who were left without an option but to win salt in these semi-dams for the owners for paltry sums of money.

Source: Duke Tagoe

Ghana News Online

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