President Kufuor’s emotional farewell message to Parliament
1/5/2009 10:28:56 PM -
President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday bade farewell to the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic with an emotional address focusing on the State of the Nation.
He recounted: 'As I leave office after eight years you must know that I have served in Parliament twice, first in the Second Republic on the government side, again in the Third Republic on the other side.
'I have had the privilege of serving in government as a Junior Minister. I have suffered political detention twice, because of military coup detats. I have come through the ups and downs of the changing fortunes of politics over the past 40 years and thank God, I am now ending my active political life at the pinnacle of the greasy pole of politics as President of the Republic.'
In a touching tone, President Kufuor said; 'I had hoped that after my tenure I will be succeeded by a candidate from my own political tradition. But as things have turned out, the Electoral Commissioner has declared that the electorate of Ghana has decided otherwise.
'As a democrat, I acknowledge this declaration. I, therefore, congratulate once more the President-Elect, Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on his election.
'It is hoped that he will bring the wealth of experience garnered while in government and subsequently out of it to forge a sense of unity within the body politic, which is a sine qua non for nation building.'
The Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic came into being on January 7 2005 for a four-year journey of law making and policy appraisal of the country.
The President also congratulated his party's Presidential Candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who lost the election narrowly, saying through the election, Nana Akufo-Addo has acquitted himself with valour and the greatest sense of dignity.
'Nana Akufo-Addo more than anyone else should know that our Danquah-Busia Tradition has been fashioned and tempered with perseverance, resilience and resolve to stay the course of never giving up,' the President stated.
Amidst occasional outburst of laughter from members of the House, President Kufuor acknowledged the contribution of other Presidential candidates and challenged them to continue to contribute to the enrichment of the political discourse by offering alternative views for the development of the country.
He reminded politicians that the formation of political parties was not only for elections purposes but also for veritable nurturing grounds for leadership development in the interest of society.
'Political parties bridge many divides within the nation including ethnic; religious; ideological and gender,' he stated.
Focusing on the act of governance, President Kufuor admitted that in the current information age, incumbency was proving to be extremely challenging in a vibrant democracy.
He said 'it demands being on the alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every action of government is put under constant scrutiny for questioning while a spin is put on almost every policy decision.
'This attitude tends to ignore the need for gestation periods for programmes, and thereby promotes a negative culture of instant gratification and unrealistic expectations, which is often exploited for undue political gain.'
President Kufuor said if politicians across the board continued to criticize programmes and policies of incumbent governments just to score political points, they might in the long run breed cynicism, undermine the whole political system and weaken democracy to everybody's disadvantage.
He charged the next Parliament to lead the effort to curb the negative tendency of political cynicism 'so that it does not become endemic'.