10th Anniversary of Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III

 Late founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings
Late founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings

June 4 lecture: Ablakwa hails Rawlings’s modesty

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has eulogised the late founder of the NDC, Jerry John Rawlings, as a selfless leader who genuinely cared about the ordinary Ghanaian in a glaring contrast to the current administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Speaking to party faithful in the Hohoe Municipality on Saturday (June 3) at a commemorative lecture on the 44th anniversary of the ‘June 4 Uprising’, Mr  Ablakwa described the current administration as having failed to uphold the principles of modesty and leadership exemplified by Rawlings.

The lecture held on the theme, "Saving our Democracy: The spirit of June 4",  highlighted growing discontent with the current administration and the desire to return to the leadership principles exemplified by Mr Rawlings as the country faces economic challenges and persisting concerns about nepotism and accountability.

The public lecture preceded a wreath-laying ceremony led by a former President and flag bearer of the NDC, John Dramani Mahama, on yesterday at the Evangelical Presbyterian Park in Hohoe following a health walk through the Hohoe township.

Historical context

Referring to the historical context, Ablakwa criticised the excessive number of presidential staffers under the current administration, and profligate spending on luxuries, including the President's expensive private jet trips despite Ghana's economic woes, suggesting that this was an unnecessary burden on the national purse.

"Never under President Rawlings' tenure did he decide to dissipate scarce national resources for his comfort, living an extravagant life, including chartering a private jet at €20,000 per hour," he stated.

"We saw a modest and down-to-earth leader who truly protected the public purse," he said of Rawlings.

Mr Ablakwa also spoke about controversies surrounding the National Cathedral project and the preceding demolition of several important structures to pave the way for its construction. He suggested that Rawlings would not have supported such actions, highlighting the need to learn from the former President's legacy.

He raised concerns about nepotism within the government, contrasting it with Rawlings' approach to governance devoid of nepotistic practices.

Ablakwa emphasised Rawlings' commitment to effective leadership and pointed out the former President's aversion to making excuses and his dedication to problem-solving. 

He lamented the lack of similar qualities in the present government leadership, stating that the budding generation had nowhere to look for inspiration.

He urged the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to take action on investigations into the killing of eight people during the 2020 elections, echoing Rawlings' commitment to justice and accountability.

Uphold values

The MP for Korle Klottey and daughter of Jerry Rawlings, Zanetor Rawlings, advocated unity and stressed the significance of prioritising the welfare of the Ghanaian populace. 

In her address, she encouraged cadres to remain loyal to their compatriots and to uphold the values championed by her late father.

June, 4, citizen-led

Other speakers at the lecture, including the General Secretary of the June 4 Movement, Eric Bortey, said the forces that propelled the advent and longevity of the June 4 Movement were citizen-led.

He said the uprising, which involved professional bodies, market women and a host of other ordinary Ghanaians had kept the country democratised.

He criticised the government for mismanaging the economy and taking the country back to the days of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), to the extent that "Ghana has become unattractive even to coup plotters”.

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