Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday January 03, 2018
The 36th anniversary of the 31st December, 1981 ‘revolution,’ led by then Flt Lt Jeremiah John Rawlings, was celebrated peacefully at Ho in the Volta Region last Sunday, but not without the usual controversies associated the annual event.
The former president, who is also the founder of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), used the occasion to chastise his colleague former President John Dramani Mahama for coming to the event late; and even noted that Mr Mahama, who took the party to opposition in 2016, had not learnt any lessons.
“He has not learnt the lesson of how not to be late for functions. Each time they keep me waiting just because of him. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t worry he will learn it,” Rawlings (fondly called Papa J) remarked at the event which was under the theme, "Uniting Around the Principles of Probity, Accountability and Social Justice."
But the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the anniversary jumped into the defence of Mr. Mahama saying that he was there on time, insisting, “From the outset former President Mahama was not late to the Revolution Day Event.
“It should be noted that what transpired leading to the remarks of the founder of the NDC and former President, Jerry John Rawlings, was an apparent communication lapse. Former President Mahama’s Office was informed to arrive at 10:00 am. It should be noted that former President Mahama duly complied and in fact, arrived earlier at 9:50 am.”
The statement, which had been signed by Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (MP) Chairman of the LOC, added, “It must be well acknowledged that former President Rawlings, after having been informed of these facts, in a statesmanly manner, publicly corrected the impression he had created earlier and apologised to President Mahama.”
In his main address, Mr. Rawlings ripped into those he called ‘latter-day saints’ in the NDC whom he accused of hijacking the party and disrespecting everyone, including himself.
“Some latter-day party officials have now made it their chore to denigrate me for speaking loudly and forcefully about the wrongs in the NDC when the party was in power,” he said, adding, “Many of these political novices, eager to please their paymasters, may be oblivious to the countless times my counsel was treated with contempt.”
Mr JJ Rawlings said there is no way he could spend his energy criticizing the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government when his own NDC is in a mess and needed deliverance.
“I cannot lay claim to the position of party founder and spend time criticizing another party or institution when my house is burning. Removing the log in my eye is the only way to legitimize any right to expose the speck in another’s.” he said emphatically.
In spite of the former president’s posture towards the NPP, he urged the Akufo-Addo administration not to gloss over issues like political vigilantism associated with the ruling party, the ‘cash for dinner seats’ with the president and the recent reported inflated budgetary allocation by a ministry.
The leader of the ‘revolution’ posited that the NDC needs “men and women at its various executive positions who have the strength of character to boldly lead the party and ensure that they have the ability to rein in members of their own government when in power.
“Our party structure was weak, abused and ignored in the immediate past and when change comes, that change must be one that carries with it the power and will of the people,” he said, adding, “If we do not allow that revolutionary change but allow materialism and money politics to dictate our choices, then we will stay in the political abyss for a considerable period.”
He reiterated his point that the NDC’s humiliating defeat at the 2016 general election was ‘self-inflicted,’ insisting that “the ideals of probity, accountability, integrity and social justice did not manifest themselves in our policies and conduct at all times.
“Some of our own comrades chose to be impervious to reality and we experienced a crushing defeat that haunts many till today.”
Youth & Money
“The grassroots of our party has been paralysed by the complete dearth of principles to drive the party. Our youth are being motivated by monetary influence rather than principles. Many have no clue about the ideals of the party and only see political association as an economic association, further emboldening the so-called kingmakers.”
Mr. Rawlings noted that currently, the political landscape has been monetized and that is killing the enthusiasm towards patriotism and service to the country.
“Today, many perceive politics as being synonymous with acquiring wealth at a fraudulently rapid pace and have nothing to do with service to country. Politics to some, is no longer about the right of every individual to have a say in national decision-making through the district assemblies and other grassroots political structures that were created to enhance equity and create a national wealth of ideas and sense of belonging.
“Today, our politics is one of patronage and dependence on cash cows. Some people have used the leadership opportunities offered them to acquire ill-gotten wealth, which they now use to manipulate us,” he said.
In a related development, an NDC activist, Dela Coffie, has attacked former President Mahama and his group for attending the event in Ho after he had claimed that the former leader used it to advance his political career.
He posted on Facebook, “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the former leader of the NDC - John Mahama and his cronies - would ever participate in June 4, 1979 and December 31, 1981 commemorative events, post 2009. Not only am I stunned by John Mahama's presence at the December 31 commemorative event in Ho today, I lament the hypocrisy associated with his brand of politics.
“I remember vividly Mahama's scathing attack on the commemoration of these two events in 2010. It was convenient for Mahama and cronies whiles in government to dishonour December 31 commemoration, forgetting that the NDC is a direct descendant of June 4 and 31st December.”
Mr Dela Coffie recalled, “Mahama as vice president and later as president, publicly encouraged appointees and trusted media contacts to run down the ideals of June 4th and 31st December revolution.”