President John Atta Mills PRESIDENT JOHN Evans Atta Mills yesterday commended Ghanaians for ensuring peace and unity after a nail-baiting and marathon election last year that could have thrown the country into chaos and a state of anarchy.
Addressing his maiden parade of school children, security agencies and identifiable groups at the 52nd Independence Anniversary Celebration at the Independence Square in Accra, President Mills said the peaceful conduct of the elections made Ghana stand tall in terms of democracy and political stability across the would, adding “we must be proud of such an enviable feat”.
The theme for this year's celebration, “Unity and Peace; Pillars for National Development”, attracted the Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo; Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Wood; ex-President Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu; Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Traditional Leaders.
This year's celebration was without most of the usual fan fair with fewer guests and schools participating in the event. The highlight of the event came when ex-President Rawlings in his customary show of populism came out of his car waving to the crowd to attract needless attention.
In his address, President Mills noted that the theme for the independence celebration could not have been more apt considering the extent to which a wrong step during the last election could have moved the nation in the wrong direction.
The message of the youth to the leaders of this country, according to the president was nothing but a cry for a peaceful and united Ghana.
“And my solemn pledge to the youth of Ghana is that Atta Mills and his government will do everything possible to make sure that Ghana remains a haven of peace and unity”, President Mills affirmed.
He paid glowing tribute to the sons and daughters of Ghana whose vision and tenacity of purpose won the people of this country political independence.
“Foremost amongst them was Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who has left an indelible impression on world history and was rightly chosen as the topmost African personality of the 20th Century of the last Millennium”, President Mills acknowledged.
He also congratulated the parade commanders, officers and men of the security agencies, students, and all identifiable groups for their splendid performance befitting the occasion.
Speaking on the economy, President Mills said the rich talents and human qualities given to Ghana will enable the country overcome the challenges posed by the global economic downturn and “our inadequacies in the management of the nation's economy, adding “this administration does not intend to parade scapegoats or seek refuge in excuses”.
President Mills assured that his administration would focus on issues that would enable the economy recover and would do this in collaboration with organized labour, the business community and with industry.
“We count on the goodwill of Ghana and understanding of Ghanaians as we engage each other in a more civil and collaborative manner to build the kind of better Ghana we all want”, President Mills pleaded.
The goal of his administration, according to him, is to strengthen Ghana's position as a magnet for investment in productive ventures to create jobs for the youth.
“We aim for efficiency in our governance process for creating a business climate that will rank very high; investing infrastructure to open up the country; a healthcare system that provides for all; providing quality teachers in a highly improved schools system; providing good drinking water for the people; and in making Ghana a much safer place for the citizenry,” President Mills pledged.
He also pledged that his administration will not engage in political vendetta but that “no amount of organized detraction or political barnstorming will break my resolve to chart a new course in the politics of this nation of ours.
“It may take time for some to wake up to this new political reality but I hope eventually they will. And those who know they are in the wrong must recognize that a contrite heart is more valued and a better example than arrogance, bluster and confrontation,” the president stated.
He admonished political authorities to be decorous in all engagements, noting “As political leaders, we must also recognize that what we say or fail to say to our followers makes a lot of difference in how followers conduct themselves in national discourse”.
President Mills stated that he would not condone actions that will pitch one citizen against the other as a way of settling political scores, emphasizing that this is unacceptable and will not be the Ghanaian way of doing things.
“The Ghanaian way should be that, under the Rule of Law, and with the benchmark of due process, any violations of the laws of Ghana will be addressed in a manner that is fair, balanced, and right in the sight of God”, President Mills urged.
He said as a people, “our greatest achievements have come when we have lived up to the ideals that unite rather than divide us and have attached ourselves to a common sense of purpose”.
By Awudu Mahama