Former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has in a keynote address at this year’s Hogbetsotso festival of the people of Anlo called for support for President Mahama in his quest to efficiently manage the country and rid it of corrupt practices and elements.
President Rawlings said while President Mahama is a fine leader who perhaps is too gentle for the current political dispensation, some personalities around him have attributes that cannot auger well for the smooth management of the state.
The former President called on opinion leaders such as chieftaincy institutions and the Council of State not to hesitate to point out the truth to the President because he has the country’s interest at heart and can only succeed if his advisors do not hide facts from him.
President Rawlings who was the special guest of honour at the annual Hogbetsotso festival held at Anloga on Saturday, said people have a responsibility to endorse leadership that protects the people and supports socio-economic development that benefits not only a select few.
The former President who spoke from a prepared speech and extempore said: Fighting injustice requires us to be resolute and be above reproach. Our society cannot progress if at the community level we do not embrace qualities of truth, equity, accountability and integrity.
While leadership at traditional and political level has to uphold these noble principles, you the ordinary people have to embrace noble lifestyles that will benefit our young ones who have become victims of westernization and crass pursuit of materialism.
Crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery and corruption have become the order of the day not only at national and urban level, but also at the most grassroots of places. We need to wake up and confront these negative incursions into our society because they pose serious danger to the very survival of our communities. That sense of purpose and unity that binds us together is almost lost on us, the former President said.
Please find the full text of President Rawlings address below:
ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GHANA AT THE ANLO HOGBETSOTSO FESTIVAL ANLOGA – SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2013
Mr. Chairman, Awoamefia of Anlo State Togbi Sri III, Chiefs, Mamawo, invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me home to share the joys of the Hogbetsotso with you.
Hogbetsotso was borne out of injustice and inequality. Our forefathers rose above oppression and fought against the injustice of King Agorkorli, leading to their eventual migration.
Our ancestors had the opportunity to migrate then, but you and I have no where to migrate to if we have to endure injustice and inequality so we have a huge responsibility to ensure that we endorse leadership that protects the people and supports socio-economic development that benefits not only a select few.
Fighting injustice requires us to be resolute and be above reproach. Our society cannot progress if at community level we do not embrace qualities of truth, equity, accountability and integrity.
While leadership at traditional and political level have to uphold these noble principles you the ordinary people have to embrace noble lifestyles that will benefit our young ones who have become victims of westernization and crass pursuit of materialism.
Crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery and corruption have become the order of the day not only at national and urban level but also at the most grassroots of places. We need to wake up and confront these negative incursions into our society because they pose serious danger to the very survival of our communities. That sense of purpose and unity that binds us together is almost lost on us.
I am reliably informed your major source of livelihood, fishing and vegetable farming is not bringing you much economic sustenance as it used to. You have problems with fishing because as stated before some of us in our selfish desire to make quick money have been applying illegal forms of fishing which have the tendency to affect the appropriate breeding of fish as fingerlings are also trapped in the process.
We have also embraced a very poor habit of keeping our water resources polluted in such a manner that we cannot expect fishes and other living organisms to reproduce and help the chain of survival in the oceans and rivers. We cannot continue to pollute our rivers with chemicals, wash directly in them with soap and expect the same water resource to provide potable water and protein on our table. No!
Let us use prescribed nets for fishing so we do not deplete our fishing resource. We should practice good farming methods so as to sustain the fertility of the soil.
It is however a pity that most of your farm produce get rotten while for those who manage to sell your produce the real beneficiaries are the middle men who buy the produce cheaply and sell them at very competitive rates in the urban areas.
I call on the traditional and municipal authorities to confront these issues head on by encouraging cooperatives and partnerships amongst the people so farm produce is marketed through a combined effort with the obvious benefits.
With a well laid out road network, it behoves of leadership at various levels here in Anlo to pursue large-scale investment in canning our vegetable produce, not only for the international market but for the local market as well. Elsewhere tomato juice is a delicacy. We should explore all these investment options and not only think we should can the tomatoes just for cooking purposes. We have to be proactive and ambitious. That is what our local communities need in pushing the quest for national development.
Togbuiwo, Mamawo, we cannot develop our communities if our educational standards are abysmal. If it is true that the current educational results within the Anlo community are poor then we have a lot of work on our hands. Development at all levels of society is now based on very advanced technology which can only be available if our children are tutored appropriately and our schools are properly equipped to pass on appropriate education to pupils and students.
The Anlo state needs to look thoroughly inward and ask itself if it has done enough to maintain the status quo as one of the most progressive communities in our country.
A filthy culture of self-centred arrogance, petty squabbling, destruction of reputations and abuse of our deep-seated traditions by those who benefited from the toil of our ancestors is destroying our sense of unity and brotherliness.
Many of our so-called distinguished elders and personalities who stood on your shoulders to achieve their current fame and fortune are now sponsoring divisive tendencies that will no doubt lead to unfortunate divisions which were supposed to be matters of the past.
I do not intend to poke my nose into these unfortunate but serious issues, but I call on the Awoamefia, togbuio and mamawo to take a serious look at the issues confronting the state of Anlo and not allow politics to override the religious sanctity of what this state stands for.