Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings says President John Mahama’s government will succeed only if members of the public help to expose the weaknesses in his government and offer concrete suggestions in fighting corruption.
President Rawlings said he was aware of the fact that the government is confronted with a number of challenges including corruption and stated that the President concedes that all Ghanaians need to join hands in combating the problem.
The former President also called for a review of the electoral college of the National
Democratic Congress (NDC) to make it more representative of the will of the people.
President Rawlings who delivered the keynote address at the annual Deza Festival of the people of Dzodze in the Volta Region on Saturday, said: “There is no point in voting for the President and government and sitting down waiting for Accra. You have an equal responsibility to help develop your country by refusing to sit on the fence doing nothing.”
Touching on the NDC, the former President who is also the Founder of the party said: “The time has come to enlarge the electoral college of the NDC so a larger group of people which is better representative of various local communities, elect officers of the party including the flagbearer. Others may have initiated that method but we can do better and come up with a larger and more representative electoral college. We should have done that a long time ago.
“Those of our officers and executives with integrity must support reform and should have nothing to fear. Let us not do anything to undermine the attempt to hand the party back to the people. To do so will be risking the life of the NDC,” he counselled.
The full text of the address is published below:
ADDRESS BY H. E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE 12TH EDITION OF DZODZE DEZA OF THE CHIEFS AND PEOPLE OF DZODZE ON 5TH OCTOBER, 2013
H. E. Modestus Ahiable,
Hon. Ministers of State present
Hon. Member of Parliament for Ketu North, James Avedzi
Hon. Assembly Members present
Torgbuiwo and Mamawo
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you for the opportunity to join you in celebrating this year’s Deza palm festival.
I warmly congratulate torgbuiwo, mamawo and the people of Dzodze for the sense of unity and the prevailing peace that has culminated in the celebration of the 12th edition of the Deza festival.
I also congratulate you all for the steadyprogress you are making as a young district under very challenging circumstances. The theme of the festival, “Dzodze Deza, an instrument for unity and peace, sustenance for democratic governance for national development; a concern for Dzodze Traditional Area,” signifies your appreciation of the ingredients necessary for socio-economic and socio-political development in Ghana.
Mr. Chairman, it is an undeniable fact that peace and unity are twin cornerstones for the progress of any society and for that matter a district or country as a whole. While sharing with you the symbolism of this great occasion, there is the need for us to reflect on the essence of peace and unity at this critical time in the life of our country.
There is no doubt that Ghana is an oasis of political stability in a desert of conflicts and uprisings on the African continent. This enviable record is a product of the sense of perseverance, sacrifice and patriotism that many of you and a host of fallen heroes had to endure particularly in the difficult days of the revolution to lift the country out of the failed economic and political situation it found itself. Today some modern day converts operate as if they own the copyright to the pain and sacrifice you the people had to endure.
The political circumstances that we enjoy today and which many tout as having been initiated in the run up to the 1992 elections was initiated during the PNDC era when we encouraged the people to get involved in the political decision-making across the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as much as well-meaning Ghanaians are calling for peace and unity in the country, we must also bear in mind that we cannot achieve peace when there is no justice, probity and accountability which are the foundation of the Supreme Law of our land. Likewise we cannot refer to our political circumstances as democratic when the ingredients of justice, probity and accountability are absent.
That is why it is imperative that as a people we cultivate a culture of mutual respect for each other and adherence to high moral standards right from the home. Our traditional values have been relegated to the background because of our flirtation with Western culture but for our kind of democracy to be successful and sustainable we have to re-embrace our cultural values and take full advantage of the judicial values inherent, which are always protective of the values of probity, accountability, freedom and justice.
Torgbuiwo and Mamawo, I am happy to know that Dzodze continues to strive to maintain unity among its people for a common purpose and I urge you to religiously guard the peace we are enjoying and create the enabling environment for active participation of all and sundry in the socio-economic development of your district. As a repertoire of wisdom, our Torgbuiwo and Mamawo must continue their advocacy works in promoting issues that will unite rather than divide the people. You have to also encourage the youth to embark on self-help developmental projects that will further enhance the incomes of our communities and place less pressure on central government.
Torgbuiwo and Mamawo I am not oblivious to the fact that the government is confronted with a number of challenges in running the affairs of our country, particularly corruption. President Mahama concedes that the corruption issue is one that requires the support of all and has called for our involvement in fighting it. The President can only succeed if we help to expose the weaknesses in his government and offer concrete advise on policy implementation initiatives. There is no point in voting for the President and government and sitting down waiting for Accra. You have an equal responsibility to help develop your country by refusing to sit on the fence doing nothing.
Our party the NDC needs some significant reform to face the challenges of the dynamic global political climate. Our current internal structures need to be reviewed. I do not think the necessary reforms required in order to clean up the image of the party are being treated with the urgency they require. If we do not act quickly in cleaning up the party, we will as I have warned before, face a problem in 2016.
The time has come to enlarge the electoral college of the NDC so a larger group of people which is better representative of various local communities, elect officers of the party including the flagbearer. Others may have initiated that method but we can do better and come up with a larger and more representative electoral college. We should have done that a long time ago.
Those of our officers and executives with integrity must support reform and should have nothing to fear. Let us not do anything to undermine the attempt to hand the party back to the people. To do so will be risking the life of the NDC.
I have taken keen interest in following developments in Ketu North District for some time now and I am aware of successes that have been achieved so far under the able leadership of your District Chief Executive, Kofi Lawson. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you for confirming him and granting him another opportunity to continue the good work he has started in the district. He can only succeed if you offer him support through advise and constructive criticism.
It is impressive to also note that the chiefs, people and other stakeholders have supported developmental initiatives such as establishment of College of Education, Midwifery Training School and oil palm plantation to revive palm related industries in the locality. All these initiatives, I believe are geared toward improving the human resource base of the district and create opportunities for employment creation for our youth.
Torgbuiwo, Mamawo, Ladies and Gentlemen, greater responsibilities lie on us to use our position to maintain peace and unity in our society so that together we can build a better and prosperous country.
But as stated earlier charity begins at home and you all have a responsibility to endeavour to ensure that right from the family unit we inculcate sound moral principles that can positively impact on society.
On this note, Mr. Chairman, Torgbuiwo, Mamawo, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a joyous celebration.
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