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06.03.2007 General News

Rawlings’ Absence At Anniversary Parade Is Regrettable —Prof. Ayee

The Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Joseph R.A. Ayee, has described as “unfortunate and regrettable” the inability of former President Jerry John Rawlings to attend the anniversary parade today to mark the country's Golden Jubilee.

He said being the longest serving Head of State of Ghana, the absence of former President Rawlings would “reduce the high profile of the celebration” with the people missing his presence.

However, Prof. Ayee said the absence of Mr Rawlings would not affect the international image of the country because most of the foreign dignitaries were aware of the frosty relation between President John Agyekum Kufuor and former President Rawlings.

Prof. Ayee stressed that the country's image would not be dented because eminent Ghanaians made up of Members of the Council of State, senior citizens and religious leaders had extended a formal invitation to Mr Rawlings and wondered why it took the former President about two weeks to give reply to invitation.

He was, however, hopeful that Mr Rawlings would reconsider his decision and attend the parade.

Prof Ayee commended the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for resolving to attend the anniversary parade and even mentioned that development indicated that former President Rawlings was distinct from the NDC as a political party.

Prof. Ayee warned that next year's general election would be “a do or die affair “if Ghanaians did not eschew negative politics.

He said politicisation of every issue affected the socio-economic development of the country.

Prof. Ayee urged Ghanaians to be optimistic about the future and forge ahead to develop the nation.

According to him, other African countries look up to Ghana, hence the need for Ghanaians to live above reproach.

Meanwhile former President Rawlings has declined the invitation from President J.A. Kufuor to participate in the Golden Jubilee žcelebrations.

He said in a message to mark the Golden Jubilee that “I deeply regret that I cannot join President Kufuor's government for this anniversary. My conscience and my principles would not permit me. I cannot share the same platform with the same people who have at every opportunity denigrated us for the last seven years and have seen no good for what we did for this country”.

The former President, however, called on Ghanaians to make the 50th Independence anniversary celebrations a pledge to each other to consolidate social justice, integrity and honesty as the basis for the future.

Story by Musah Yahaya Jafaru