DEAR ACE, THE BIRIM RIVER IS GONE

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Dear Ace Ankomah, let’s continue to think alike, for even though ages apart, you and I have one thing in common: Akim Achiase, where you come from and where I did a year of my basic education (Please don’t ask me in what year). I am not an Akim, but I derive part of my schooling therefrom: Akim Ehyiamu, Akim Achiase, Akim Osenase, etc. I am proud of my former student, Gyasi Obeng from Akim Asuom, my late Professor, Boadi from Akim Akropong, Gyimah Boadi from Abirem, etc. The list is endless.

Today, our Birim river, and the pride of my Akim colleagues is gone. And Oh that is home of the President himself, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the great Akim born and his great ancestry. The Birim river is gone, suffering a terminal paralysis. Lost to Galamsey. So then what happens to the great appellation of the Akim people: Akyemkwaa a onom Biremu. The proud Akim born that drinks of the great Birim river? Today the river is gone. My Dear Ace Ankoma, you are gone. It is a virtual declaration of your non-existence.

The rivers have been part of our defining features as a nation, our cultural and natural heritage, apart from the huge economic benefits derived. They are sites that have nurtured our great statesmen: the Ofori Attas. They were all Akim Akyemkwaa that derived pride and sustenance from Birim. But where is Birim?

The Ankobra river is gone too. Amputated by Galamsey. The river that nurtured Osagyefo himself. In his autobiography Kwame Nkrumah refers to the river traversed by his mother, Nyaneba, while he was firmly clutched on her back as a baby. Rivers of Nkroful, Nkrumah’s birth place are currently flooded with galamsey! A shameful dedication to the great leader!

But the rivers were also great enough to impart greatness to beneficiaries. The mud fish, even though tiny,
is arrogant because it lives in the big Firaw (Volta) river, the people of Akwamu would say. And the Ayensu river. We boasted of you. Even in times of drought, you Ayensu overflowed your banks.

The Volta is not gone; but Pra is at the precipice, raped and dripping in blood; ravaged beyond parental recognition: the site that was a boundary between Asante and the Southern protectorate. But Pra is also evocative in Asante history. Even though reminding us all of an unspeakable tragedy, this was converted to strengthen the Asante judicial system of ntam.
These great landmarks of our history and heritage are under attack.

The sovereign nation Ghana, is currently under attack from a merciless terrorist within. This is not the time for business as usual, please. If our collective heritage is terminated, so are we as a nation.

Wanted is the declaration of a state of emergency by the President, to defend our sovereignty as a nation!

Ace, I am sad; please let’s have lunch one of these days and continue to sing dirges.

I am gone to Duakwa. Please come over.

By Kwesi Yankah