JJ Swerves All
* No boom speech as he stuck religiously to prepared text Ashaiman(Greater Accra, June 06, Chronicle -- THE former president, Flt. Jerry John Rawlings, last Saturday took thousands of Ghanaians by surprise by doing what was uncharacteristic of him, even during his presidency.
Noted for relegating prepared speeches to the background, and resorting to his own oral speeches, the former President addressed a gathering of supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and sympathizers of the June 4th revolution this time, by sticking to a nine-page prepared speech.
At a rally to mark the 26th anniversary of June 4th Revolution at Ashaiman last Saturday, Flt. Lt. Rawlings, knowing the expectations of his audience, remarked by way of introduction.
“I hear the whole country is waiting for a boom speech today and I asked myself and especially the NPP, why they are all waiting by their radios and TVs? I wish that it is carried live and I will remind them that June 4th was not a day of boom speeches but it was rather a day of actual real boom.
“So why should they be worried about boom speeches? Serious things are going on today in this country, dubious exposures, but they are nothing but a tip of iceberg. I will do nothing to distract them about what they have brought themselves. I have written my speech and for the records of it because I want it to be recorded, I will have to stick to my speech,” he declared.
Turning to the main speech, Rawlings observed that efforts to demystify June 4th would continue to fail, so long as people in power and leadership failed to understand the philosophy of equity and social justice-the driving spirit of accountability, probity and political uprightness.
According to him, the Ghanaian culture of silence was broken by the eruption of June 4th, which embodied the need to enshrine social justice as a key to sustainable development as against greed, nepotism and corruption.
Hinting that the situation that warranted June 4th is still raising its ugly head in the country, he said, the atmosphere today is more dreadful than the political insensitivity that led to June 4th.
According to him, the blatant show of power, the vicious politics of live and let die, the display of greed and material affluence at the expense of the poor and the vulnerable, harsh taxes and tariffs that are choking the private fragile medium and small industries, are all things that are unfolding as if June 4th never happened.
“The June 4th revolt was meant to discourage people to put an end to the greed, selfishness and power drunkenness that become characteristics of public office holders especially those in government, who take undue advantage of their privileged positions to perpetrate grave injustices on the people, and recklessly misappropriate and misapply the nation's resources to the exclusion and disadvantage of the majority's welfare and progress.”
The former president who contended that the philosophy of June 4th maintains that good economic governance must always be guided by sound economic policies and a humane face, lest heartless economic development deepens the suffering of the people, said it was unfortunate that people try endlessly to wish away the political significance of the June 4th uprising.
According to him, June 4th will always remain an albatross, the enigma and ever present indication that people's anger against persons who take public office, with the sole aim of amassing wealth and property by dubious and fraudulent means, while corrupting the mental fabric of society with lies and media manipulation to justify their whims and caprices, never go unpunished.
Justifying the essence of June 4th, Mr. Rawlings said, “The revolt of June 4, 1979 was an expression of the anger and frustration of the common people, both military and civilian, against anyone whom they perceived to be part, whether directly or indirectly, of the system of privilege, elitism, exploitation and greed, which greed had bled and demoralized the nation over the previous decade.
“If the anger of the June 4 uprising had been left to run its course, unimaginable bloodshed and destruction would have run riot, perhaps for years, Ghana would have headed the grim roll-call of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Darfur etc.”
The Former President, who did not mince words on the NPP government, reiterated the accusations of corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and greed on the part of government officials, adding that President Kufuor and his ministers cannot survive if they are subjected to a mere fraction of media scrutiny.
Bemoaning the level of media reportage, Mr. Rawlings asked, “When did truth become a commodity that can be negotiated? Truth is at all times. You are either a truthful person or you are not. Probity can never be corruption. An injustice can never be just.”
The leader of June 4th noted that the suffering of the people has reached the boiling point, and yet clearly, the people are being gagged by spin doctors and some 'tunnel-vision media practitioners.”
According to him, the nation cannot continue to deceive the masses because all too soon, they now realize the difference between the NDC stewardship and the massive nepotism, abuse of power, corruption and deception of the present regime, stressing that, “The expression of the people's power yesterday, is even more relevant today as we seek to hold public office holders accountable for their stewardship.”
Buttressing his justification further, Mr. Rawlings who was accompanied by his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and a host of NDC gurus, including the former Vice President and flagbearer of the NDC in the 2004 elections, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, said, “The expression of the people's power in 1979 is truly an irrevocable statement in Ghanaian history. In 1979, that expression of deep anger, frustration and humiliation did not require opinion leaders to speak for the people because they had failed the people. The people spoke for themselves and acted decisively.”
He continued, “June 4th is committed to social justice, period. It will require that political leaders and office holders be accountable to uphold the political will of good leadership, moral integrity and accountability as key elements to good governance. It will stand up to blatant greed, political arrogance, corruption, kalabule, nepotism and the erosion of our moral values.”