Former President Jerry John Rawlings is not happy at the turn of events in the country – ranging from corruption to a breakdown in discipline.
He believes, “There is a breakdown of discipline and a stifling of the spirit of selflessness in our society.”
This, according to him, was a huge challenge “we must confront as we enter the New Year,” a statement issued on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of the infamous 31st December, 1981 ‘revolution’ indicated.
Mr. Rawlings, who is also the founder of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) said, “We must concede that the spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism that lifted the country during the PNDC and NDC 1 era has in the past decade-and-a-half been suffocating in a new era of political narrow-mindedness,” leaving himself out of blame.
“If we are to make headway in our political, economic and social development, then we must shirk the narrow-minded approach to all matters concerning the well-being of our community and country,” he said insisting, “There must be a heightened sense of nationalism and a genuine desire to fight for the good of Ghana.”
The former president also stressed that “the culture of criticising for the sake of political expediency should be replaced by a culture of constructive criticism that offers options in terms of workable solutions” whiles “our leadership must also be seen to be listening and should never be seen to be oblivious to the challenges and concerns of the people.”
Even though he admitted the fact that “Ghana is saddled with some very negative images about corruption, some wrongly perceived, but some convincingly accurate,” Papa Jay, as he is affectionately called, indicated, “It is also imperative that we confront and tackle the destructive pattern of ethnocentrism and nepotism that has crept back into our national political life before it does incurable damage and strangles social cohesion.”
For him, “2015 must be a year when the government and people work hand-in-hand to steer the affairs of the state in a direction that will confront corruption, tackle the economic challenges and instill a sense of dignity and sanity in everything we do.”
That, he said, was because “We cannot afford to be pessimistic. We all have a responsibility.”
It was for this reason Mr. Rawlings said, “Pointing fingers, but choosing to sit on the fence is cowardly, defeatist and unpatriotic,” whiles emphasizing the need to also seek the guidance of God in all affairs of the nation.
The statement claimed among others that “On 31 December, 1981, Ghana was ushered into a period that significantly changed the political direction of this country, nurtured a heightened sense of patriotism and embraced the noble ideals of honesty, truth, transparency and integrity.”
According to Mr. Rawlings, who led the infamous 31st December ‘revolution,’ “that energy or fervour transformed itself into a huge resource for the repair of rail lines and the carting away of cocoa locked up in rural areas, and was matched by a refreshing sense of order and discipline unsurpassed in the nation’s history.”
“We cannot forget the sense of unity and purpose that buoyed the revolution during the crisis created by the deportation of over one million Ghanaians from Nigeria. Let us also not forget the debilitating famine that ravaged Ghana in 1983 due to poor rainfall and how Ghanaians marshalled forces to combat the challenges of the time,” Jerry recounted.
This, he said, was due to the fact that “Ghanaians worked hard to survive the pressures of the deportation order from Nigeria, confronted the difficult famine and bore the brunt of the Structural Adjustment Programme in our desire to turn around the country’s dwindling economic fortunes.”