Former president Jerry John Rawlings has indicated that truth has no partisan colour as the nation marks 60 years of nationhood next week. The former President is therefore challenging the citizenry to restore the strength of the critical mass and let truth prevail in the national reconstruction effort.
Anything short of that, he added, would not augur well for national reconstruction and development efforts.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic at his office over the weekend on the way forward for the nation as it marks 60 years, the former President, who is also the Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was of the worrying impression that “right and wrong have assumed such an ugly partisan colour in the national discourse”.
“As far as I am concerned, right is right and wrong is wrong, irrespective of who says or does it, and we need to do something more urgently to restore their values in the true sense,” he declared.
He warned that if the citizenry looked on unconcerned, without working to restore the strength of what he called “the critical mass”, then “right and wrong will continue to be held hostage in a partisan way, irrespective of whether it is right or wrong”.
“It is unfortunate that some refuse to see why I do not engage in such politics. I feel morally, ethically and duty bound to give praise where it is due and condemn where necessary. This is because it is harmful to our national development and human civilisation in general when we are clearly going wrong,” he insisted.
Former President Rawlings was of the view that instead of the citizenry and more so political party supporters holding their leaders and government in check, the supporters think doing that would make the government weak and vulnerable.
“In the course of time if we do not hold our government in check, we grow weaker because the wrong persists, and when I take it upon myself to speak, it turns into another ‘heeey!’
“I will continue to give credit where it is due, even to a perceived enemy or opposition,” he assured.
“Whether it is due to ignorance, hypocrisy or rabid hatred, our inability to commend when it is due, is helping to dis-empower the forces of virtue and integrity.
“We are denying ourselves the right to cultivate and hold on to the might of right,” he stated.
The former President noted that, “For the President in his very first State of the Nation Address to draw attention to and emphasise the importance of the environment, the issue of sanitation and the lack of it, in my opinion, is a serious indictment against us as a country and each one of us as Ghanaians in our continued inability to maintain something so close to our sense of worth.”
On why, in recent times, he seems to be touting the positive attributes of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former President Rawlings intimated: “My statement could not be out of character with me, but the man has used the force of conviction and used our own weapon against us.”
“He is on a moral high ground and we in the NDC are down. He fought with the force of conviction and integrity and has beaten us to it. How far is the NDC prepared to go in reclaiming our high ground? Now the power mongering and corrupt ones are trying to sneak in their clutch,” he said.
When a candidate that is starved of funds by even some of his own past party leadership is able to beat a well-resourced incumbent, it gives a clear indication of the force of conviction and the power of the might of right. If we don’t clean up, it will be impossible to defeat him,” he indicated.
Let us stop being forgetful
“ When Nana Akufo-Addo took their 2012 electoral loss to the Supreme Court and we in the NDC in our omniscient manner were humiliating his running mate in the dock, was Nana Akufo-Addo not in court till the case was over?
“ Juxtapose the loyalty Nana Akufo-Addo demonstrated to his running mate against Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings when she was being tried during the Kufuor regime. How many of us in the NDC turned up to show solidarity?
“ The 31st December Movement suffered bankruptcy in supporting Atta Mills. How many of us bothered to show up in court to offer her moral support in recognition of the foundation she laid in leading the women from the PNDC to the NDC? During that trial, Peter Ala Adjetey, the then Speaker of Parliament, whose son, NDC’s well-fed Larry Adjetey, was charged together with my wife, threatened Kufuor that if he did not drop the ‘false’ charge against his son, he would personally go to court to defend his son. Kufuor dropped his charges.
“How many of these qualities of principled solidarity did we demonstrate towards our own? Instead, people got rewarded with appointments by denigrating and trying to destroy some of us. What money did I not borrow to assist some of our colleagues and comrades who were suffering financially under Kufuor’s regime? Those debts are still on my head today.
“Right and wrong have been held hostage by partisan politics such that if we do not restore them to their rightful place, the moral fabric of our society will continue to degenerate. Let us hold on to our critical role and still co-exist.
“We’ve all contributed, by omission or commission, to this massive change. Let’s help the President to succeed as patriots and push him out in future elections if we present ourselves as better alternatives. To wait till we get into office will inflict untold hardship on the people of Ghana,” Mr Rawlings asserted.
For those who thought he was being hypocritical, President Rawlings indicated that he had done his best, both in private and in public, to help correct the wrongs in the NDC government, all to no avail.
According to him, the mean-spiritedness that was the order of the day for some high-ranking officials when he left office in 2000 got even worse towards him, his family and some NDC members after they had fought hard to get the NDC back in power in 2008.
“Regrettably, many people believe that the depth of corruption that was inherited from 2008 was allowed to degenerate leading to ‘our being whipped out’ in 2016.
“In short, the party that was born out of the revolution must awaken to its values of probity and accountability in order to restore its moral high ground. Isn’t the margin of defeat against us enough evidence that things had deteriorated? Instead of concentrating our efforts on defying the mercenaries, opportunists and hijackers to rectify and solidify the party, we rather seem to be focusing on being presidential candidates,” he said.
Akufo-Addo needs support.
In his view, Nana Akufo-Addo needs the active support of patriots.
“He needs more than prayers…our active support. We have to be bold and strong to defy and rectify. There were some who were doing genuine business right from Kufuor’s era and continued to irrespective of change of governments. There are also those who engaged in corrupt business practices right from that time and continued to work with Prof. Mills and Mahama’s people, and they appear determined to continue in this current government.
“If we do not use the opportunity presented to us to override some of these negative forces and their actions, we would have lost a fine chance,” President Rawlings advised.