Ensure democracy yields dividends "Darkwa to political parties"
A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Dr Samuel Kofi Darkwa, has called on political parties, particularly the ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC), to ensure that the country's democracy yields dividends for posterity.
He said for that to happen, political parties including both the NPP and the NDC must re-commit themselves to stamp out corruption and ensure accountability, transparency, probity and integrity of all their political leaders.
This was because those ideals, he noted, were the essential elements needed to address the numerous socio-economic challenges that the country was currently facing.
Dr Darkwa was speaking at the launch of a book at the British Council auditorium in Accra on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
The book, titled “Revolution and Democracy in Ghana: The Politics of Jerry John Rawlings", analyses Rawlings’ plans for radical democratisation in Ghana, involving ordinary people directly in the nation’s political and economic decision-making processes.
The author of the 220-page book, Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Haynes, traced the turbulent period of Ghana’s history, showing Rawlings’ development from a fiery revolutionary to a democracy-supporting politician adept at winning elections.
It also investigates how the regime was able to remain in power, overseeing a halt to economic decline and a return to growth.
Dr Darkwa said it was prudent for all political parties and the citizenry to ask themselves whether their demand for democracy was yielding the desired results because, in his opinion, clearly, the country's socioeconomic trajectory over the years left much to be desired.
Touching on the qualities of J. J. Rawlings, he described him as a pragmatic leader who fought to stamp out corruption and economic hardship.
He expressed regret that the positive things Rawlings stood for — probity, integrity and accountability — were not being exemplified by some political leaders.
A former Minister of Information, Kofi Totobi Quakyi said “Chairman Rawlings had leadership skills in his DNA; he had an innate understanding of human nature which enabled him to effectively lead his team".
He expressed confidence that the book would help “challenge the false narratives that have long obscured the true legacy of Rawlings for future generations".
A Senior Lecturer of the Political Science Department, University of Ghana (UG), Legon, Dr Rosina Foli and Senior Lecturer and Former Head, Department of Political Science, UG, Dr Maame Adwoa A. Gyekye-Jandoh, both described Rawlings as “a pragmatic leader”.
She said his legacies in addressing the country's socio-economic challenges at the time he took over power and returning the nation to democratic rule could not be blotted out of the nation's political and economic history.
Prof. Emeritus Haynes said the book had four objectives.
They include analysing two decades of Rawlings' rule in Ghana from 1982 to 2001 and assessing Rawlings' political and economic legacy, especially democratisation, over time.
He explained that like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Rawlings was a polarising figure, because while some Ghanaians revered him, others hated him.
The first three copies of the book were sold for GH¢2,520 and it is being distributed by Vidya Books.
The event attracted dignitaries in academia, including the three daughters of Rawlings; Dr Zanetor, Yaa Asantewaa and Amina.