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Friday, January 1, 2010

Rawlings criticizes culture of ingratitude creeping into NDC

Former President J.J. Rawlings
Former President J.J. Rawlings
Former President Jerry Rawlings has lashed out at leading members of the National Democratic Congress and government officials who have refused to recognize the significant roles played by groups such as the 31st December Women’s Movement and other progressive women’s groups in national development and bringing the party back to power.

He also decried the culture of money politics that is being introduced into the party even at lower level elections and cautioned that if the party and government did not revert to the ideals of probity, accountability and integrity that are the ideals of the revolution, ‘then we toy with the party’s destiny at our peril.’

The former President said he is compelled to come out publicly to speak his mind about the government because genuine advice he offers is disrespectfully ignored.

“One day I will come out and give you details of all the advice I have given that has been ignored. These people are showing disrespect and contempt after we worked hard to win the election.

Speaking at a symposium in Tema organised by the National Cadre Front and the United Cadre Front to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the 31st December Revolution on Thursday, the former President said some government and party officials “now even sponsor some radio callers to abuse me.”

Former President Rawlings said the disrespect started after the party lost power in 2000.

“When we held meetings to discuss party matters some leading members had the audacity to question why my comments and criticism should be accepted when I had made no monetary contribution to the party.

“So embarrassing was this to many party faithful that they went around and sought financial support for me to donate to the party but I did not accept those monies. What I brought into the party was too invaluable to quantify in monetary terms. I brought on board integrity, I brought sacrifice - the blood of those who had died fighting for the ideals of the PNDC and NDC. We must learn to show respect for what people have done.

“There are too many wrongs because we fail to take the high moral ground when it matters most,” the former President said.

The former President said the removal of the NPP in the last election was yet another revolt following the moral decay, that party allowed Ghana to sink into.

“The removal of the NPP during the last election was a revolt of a different kind. A revolt through the ballot box and Ghanaians were expectant. They witnessed the extreme corrupt practices of the previous government and they now wonder why many of their appointees are still sitting on powerful desks dictating government policy.

“We suffered eight years of decline under Kufuor. State lands sold to private individuals, national assets such as the airports and seaports were all given to private entities to manage under corrupt arrangements. The drug menace became a nightmare and Ghana was for the first time in its history described as a major drug transit hub.”

Former President Rawlings said the 31st December Revolution relit the flame of freedom and justice and awakened the Ghanaian to a renewed sense of patriotism and dedication to economic and political upliftment.

“As we remember this day we need to question our continued sense of dedication to these ideals and ask whether that flame lit 28 years ago is not in danger of being extinguished by our inactions as a political force.”

“The 31st December Revolution was a fall-out of the June 4 1979 uprising which was an eruption created by the failure of successive governments to respect the sanctity of justice and create equal opportunities for citizens of our country.

“Ghana was characterised as a collapsed state and our governments failed to restore an atmosphere of freedom and justice required to turn around the clock of decay.

“June 4 was an explosion of anger precipitated by the continued failure of our leaders to bring order to the country after they had taken over the mantle of power.

“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately the cleansing effect of June 4 did not seem to have positively affected the political climate as the succeeding government fell into the same status quo that preceded June 4, necessitating the birth of December 31.

Former President Rawlings said the PNDC era ushered in by 31st brought about a social awakening never before witnessed in Ghana.

“Ghanaians endured a difficult economic transformation from drought and abject poverty to economic recovery programmes. But most significant was the manner our noble citizens through People’s Defence Committees and Workers Defence Committees did a great job of sowing seeds of local government and even handling judicial matters.

“The people had little work for the traditional court system, as there was a sense of moral uprightness and commitment to the rule of law, which was borne out of society’s desire to maintain a sense of constant discipline. These laid the foundation for the institution of the District Assembly concept, which brought political decision making right to our doorsteps.

“The National Democratic Congress was built out of the same vision of the PNDC and endeavoured to continue its ideals. Probity, accountability, freedom and justice were our watchwords.

31st December, Rawlings said, is not just another day. “It reminds us of the principles of probity, accountability, integrity and justice. Unfortunately we are allowing the moral fabric of the NDC to deteriorate. Our party was built on a foundation of visionary leadership and self-discipline.

“Most Ghanaians who believe in the national motto of Freedom and Justice irrespective of their political affiliations will expect that a government born out of noble principles will act more expeditiously to uphold justice.

“All Ghanaians have a high expectation of this government. Those of us who belong to the NDC cannot afford to have it fail.

“The NDC goes to Congress early in the New Year. I look forward to delegates electing individuals who have credibility and shown genuine commitment to the party and have most of all held onto noble principles.

“NDC has never used money for political positions. Reports of monetary influences, threats from certain government circles, misuse of armed security personnel to intimidate and prevent legitimate candidates from standing and promises of potential benefits being made to delegates is scandalous and goes against every ideal of 31st December. Let us not make the same mistakes some made.

“As we enter a new year we have to be guided by the basic principles of freedom and justice. December 31, 1981 gave power to the people and voice to the voiceless. Our people do not have to feel restrained 28 years on. The PNDC gave birth to the NDC and it is simply unacceptable if the government cannot uphold the principles that gave it life. Let us not be seen to be so power hungry we fail to follow the time tested due process that made NDC the party it is today. We toy with the party’s destiny at our own peril.”

Source: Former President Rawlings’ blog site - http://jjrawlings.wordpress.com

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