Live By Ideals Of 31st Dec - J.J. Rawlings
Former President Flt Lt J.J Rawlings has bemoaned corruption in the system saying it has gone overboard since the year 2000.
He said the situation has been enhanced by refusal of the government to investigate allegations of corruption in the past New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, adding that situation had led to an escalation of corruption in all sectors of the country.
President Rawlings was speaking at forum in Accra Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the 31st December,1981 military pustch that overthrew the Hilla Liman administration.
It was on the theme “Three decades of grass root participation: Its relevance to the current political dispensation.”
It was attended by former cadres of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and supporters of the National Democratic Congres.I
Only one member of the current NDC administration, Ms Sherry Ayittey, was present.
He said the some of the individuals who were serving in the current administration served during his tenure as President but could not be corrupt because he, as an indidual, does not tolerate corruption.
President Rawlings also lamented over the failure of the party leadership to collaborate with the rank and file for the upcomning elections saying that could affect the party’s fortunes.
He noted that a member of the current administration had approached him to discuss matters of importance with him including next year’s elections and wondered how he could be effective without the grassroots coming on board.
“How can I help you when you have dismembered my body and left my head. How can I help you when you have dislodged the hardworking members of the party. How can I help you without the committed structures on the ground. I am only one person. My wife, Nana, is only one person. There are two million members of the 31st December Women’s Movement who have been marginalised,” he said.
President Rawlings said there had been a breakdown of values in the party and accused the leadership pf behaving as if there was no ideological basis for the founding of the party.
He said to ensure party unity, there was the need to “clean house” and bring back the dedicated and committed people for the battle ahead.
“It is not too late to go back to the grassroots and listen to them and halt the detachment of the leadership of the party from the people.
He said many people who had called for unity in the party had asked him not to criticise the party openly as those criticisms might affect the party’s fortunes and added that keeping quiet over wrongdoings and standing on platforms to state that all was well would be hypocritical.
“It is not Rawlings who wins elections. It is the ordinary people,” he said.
He said he criticised the current government so fiercely because he interacted with the grassroots of the party who were concerened about the detachment of party leadership from the grassroots.
President Rawlings also observed that the concept of political pluralism was being abused with ethnic sentiments being stirred and wondered whther the situation could be salvaged.
The former Chairman of the Committee of Secretaries of the PNDC administration, Mr Paul Victor Obeng, said the antecedents 31st December, 1981 constituted a reference point for those in political leadership today on how not to allow not to allow conditions in the country not to deteriorate.
He added that the revolution had become a measuring instrument on how to use authority vested in government by the people.
“If today, hewers of wood and drawers of water have become part of the decision-making process, it was because the ordinary people were empowered and conscientised that power really belonged to them,” he said.
Mr Obeng said Ghana had a political system that receicved worldwide acclaim because of the legacy bequeathed by the revolution.
He said emphasising on bloodletting in a bid to give the revolution a bad name was tantamount to “throwing the baby away with the bath water.”
He noted that the revolution sought to stop public sector corruption and free the weak and poor from the rich and mighty in society and demistify government, among other things and actually achieved those aims.
The founder of the 31st December Women’s Movement and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, said the history of the revolutiojn could not be written without the part women played in its success.
Prior to the event, she said, women had been marginalised but the advent of the revolution brought them on board and made them part of the decision-making process.
She traced the history of the movement and the various struggles it went through and said the rise of women to positions such as Chief Justice and Speaker of Parliament, was the result of the principles advanced by the movement.