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Rawlings points the way for a fruitful 2015

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Former Ghana President Jerry Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings says Ghanaians cannot afford to be pessimistic but must join hands with the government and work hard in 2015. 

He says 2015 must be a year when the government and people work hand in hand to steer the affairs of the state in a direction that will confront corruption, tackle the economic challenges and instil a sense of dignity and sanity in everything we do.

In a statement to mark the 33rd anniversary of the 31st December 1981 Revolution, President Rawlings observed that “We all have a responsibility. Pointing fingers, but choosing to sit on the fence is cowardly, defeatist and unpatriotic!”

Recalling events surrounding the “Uprising” which he led, he said there is no doubt that “the spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism that lifted the country during the PNDC and NDC 1 era, has in the past decade and a half been suffocating in a new era of political narrow-mindedness.

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“If we are to make headway in our political, economic and social development then we must shirk the narrow-minded approach to all matters concerning the well-being of our community and country. There must be a heightened sense of nationalism and a genuine desire to fight for the good of Ghana.”

While admitting that there is a breakdown of discipline and a stifling of the spirit of selflessness in the society which he said is a huge challenge to be confronted as we enter the New Year, President Rawlings counselled against what he said was the culture of “criticising for the sake of political expediency.” 

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He said that should be replaced by a culture of constructive criticism that offers options in terms of workable solutions, while “Our leadership must also be seen to be listening and should never be seen to be oblivious to the challenges and concerns of the people.”

The full statement is published below

 

December 31, 2014

MESSAGE BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 33rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE 31st DECEMBER REVOLUTION & THE DAWN OF A NEW YEAR

On 31 December 1981, Ghana was ushered into a period that significantly changed the political direction of this country.

The December 31st Revolution nurtured a heightened sense of patriotism and embraced the noble ideals of honesty, truth, transparency and integrity.

That energy or fervour transformed itself into a huge resource for the repair of rail lines and the carting away of cocoa locked up in rural areas, and was matched by a refreshing sense of order and discipline unsurpassed in the nation's history.

We cannot forget the sense of unity and purpose that buoyed the revolution during the crisis created by the deportation of over one million Ghanaians from Nigeria.

Let us also not forget the debilitating famine that ravaged Ghana in 1983 due to poor rainfall and how Ghanaians marshalled forces to combat the challenges of the time.

Ghanaians worked hard to survive the pressures of the deportation order from Nigeria, confronted the difficult famine and bore the brunt of the Structural Adjustment Programme in our desire to turn around the country's dwindling economic fortunes.

We must concede that the spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism that lifted the country during the PNDC and NDC 1 era, has in the past decade and a half been suffocating in a new era of political narrow-mindedness.

If we are to make headway in our political, economic and social development then we must shirk the narrow-minded approach to all matters concerning the well-being of our community and country. There must be a heightened sense of nationalism and a genuine desire to fight for the good of Ghana.

We have to concede that there is a breakdown of discipline and a stifling of the spirit of selflessness in our society. This is a huge challenge we must confront as we enter the New Year.

The culture of criticising for the sake of political expediency should be replaced by a culture of constructive criticism that offers options in terms of workable solutions.

Our leadership must also be seen to be listening and should never be seen to be oblivious to the challenges and concerns of the people.

Ghana is saddled with some very negative images about corruption, some wrongly perceived, but some convincingly accurate.

It is also imperative that we confront and tackle the destructive pattern of ethnicism and nepotism that has crept back into our national political life before it does incurable damage and strangles social cohesion.

2015 must be a year when the government and people work hand in hand to steer the affairs of the state in a direction that will confront corruption, tackle the economic challenges and instil a sense of dignity and sanity in everything we do.

We cannot afford to be pessimistic.

We all have a responsibility. Pointing fingers, but choosing to sit on the fence is cowardly, defeatist and unpatriotic!

And in all things let's seek the guidance of the omnipotent.

On behalf of my wife, Nana Konadu, and family, I wish you a Fulfilling New Year.