OBED RESCUES PREZ MILLS
The banning of the celebration of 31st December 1981 coup with state resources by the Supreme Court, and the recent pronouncement by President Mills that he would encourage the celebration of the day, since it is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Founder's Day, has generated heated debates among political pundits in the country.
Though the President has not participated in the celebration of the day since assuming office, most of his appointees have actively participated in it. But the President made the point during his meeting with editors and senior journalists at the Osu Castle last Friday, that since he was a member of the NDC, and 31st December was their Founder's Day, he would encourage its celebration in private, and that there was nothing wrong with his ministers participating in it.
The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, and his counterpart in the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, however, disagree with the position of the President.
The Founder of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Dr. Yao Obed Asamoah, and Kofi Wayo, though, agree with the statement made by the President about the celebration of the 31st December coup.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The Chronicle in Accra yesterday, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie argued that the celebration of the 31st December Revolution had been outlawed by the Supreme Court, yet the President allowed Mr. Rawlings to celebrate the day with state resources.
The NPP scribe contended the use of the Flagstaff House and soldiers in the celebration of the day, amounted to using state resources, which Mr. Rawlings and his group must be made to refund to the state.
The NPP General Secretary regretted that President Mills, who is a Professor of law, would support the celebration of a day that has been banned by the Supreme Court. If the President believes the day is the NDC Founder's Day, why wasn't he there himself, adding that the President must bow his head in shame for supporting the celebration.
Mr. Bernard Mornah, the PNC General Secretary, supported Sir John's stand, stressing that as a constitutionally elected President, Mills should not have supported the celebration of a coup d'etat.
According to him, he believes that the President was not suggesting that toppling a constitutionally elected government must be applauded.
To him, the events of 31st December Revolution, which saw the exit of Dr. Hilla Limann from government, should not be entertained at all. 'What did it come to achieve? The revolution was unfortunate, and the celebration reminds us of what happened, and it must not be entertained,' he said.
He recalled a number of achievements chalked by the Limann administration. Some of which, he noted, as the acquisition of a VC 10 aircraft, stoppage of the carnage on the Black Volta, acquisition of six ships for the national shipping line, Black Star Line, to augment the existing ones, helping to lift the international blockage in Ghana, and many others.
Dr. Yao Obed Asamoah, who broke away from the NDC to form the DFP, and is the Life Patron of the DFP, however, holds a contrary view, to him, 'the decision by the President to support the celebration of 31st December was appropriate.'
According to him, it must be underscored that the revolution had been able to restore economic normalcy, adding that somewhere in 1993, the Supreme Court ruled against the decision to celebrate the event using state resources. The decision did not, however, prevent any private individuals from celebrating the event.
'Let us face it, you may not like what happened, but it did bring about tremendous transformation,' he added.
To him, even the French Revolution, which many disagreed with, is always remembered, therefore, he does not see the hue and cry, if 31st is also celebrated by private individuals.
'The Supreme Court did not prevent any private person from celebrating the event. They could not have prevented it, and I, therefore, think that President Mills' decision is appropriate. Since people celebrate it without using state resources, the noise being made is unnecessary,' he said.
Mr. Richard Quashigah, National Propaganda Secretary of the NDC, on his part, said Prez Mills was right in endorsing the event. He noted that the day should have been nationally celebrated, because it brought the nation's dwindling fortunes back on track.
According to him, the celebration was significant, because the principles of probity, transparency and accountability were not only the bedrock of the nation, but also the nation's cornerstone for development.
'President Mills is just re-echoing the fact that the December 31st Revolution is the bedrock of the nation, and that he believes in the principles of accountability, probity and transparency, which were the ideals of the revolution.'
The NDC guru said because of the relevance of the revolution, the NDC had factored it in its constitution, and would be recognised and celebrated as such.
Mr. Charles Kofi Wayo told The Chronicle that whilst the nation is being saddled with unemployment, lack of water and other social amenities, people were concerned about the celebration of a revolution.
'I don't care who celebrates what? If the President endorses the celebration, it tells you that he believes in freedom. But I am not interested in that.
What I am interested in, is that people should get water, the youth should get jobs to do, so that the situation where foreigners are taking over our jobs would be a thing of the past,' he added