Full text: Rawlings' speech at 35th Anniversary of December 31
In his address on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the 31st December revolution, the ex-President Jerry John Rawlings minced no words in chiding the outgoing administration of deviating from the core principles that brought the NDC into being.
He has blamed what he says is the humiliating defeat of the National Democratic Congress on corrupt, uncouth, and uncultured government officials.
Read his speech below:
December 31st, 2016
Ministers of State,
Religious leaders & Wulomei,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
35 years ago I vividly remember the dark hours of our nation that we sought to redeem collectively as a people. 31st December 1981 revolution was 18 months after an uprising that awakened the conscientiousness of the Ghanaian people.
The honesty and vigour of our action was met with the support and understanding of a vast majority of Ghanaians who saw it as an opportunity to restore the dignity of the ordinary man. The fallen heroes we honour today expect of us in the least, never to relapse into those same old days. But that has not been the case.
In the wake of the revolution we made pronouncements that summed up the state of affairs that prevailed then.
I admonished back then that;
“Ghana should be a land where it will be accepted practice and norm that those who earn the privilege to govern, should administer in humility, conscious that they are the servants of the people and are ready to submit themselves and their actions to public scrutiny and accountability”.
Most people are yet to recover from the traumatic shock of the December 7th election results. But I will have to state that if we turn our backs to our history us a party, we cannot escape the responsibility for the result.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat their mistakes over and over again.
Need I remind you that the NDC was built on principles and values that emerged as a result of circumstances that led to our birth?
The NDC’s painful and massive rejection at the polls is indicative that we have lost the moral high ground that sets us apart from others. Great lengths were taken to draw the attention of the party as a collective but none of it will be tolerated or accommodated.
We lost the elections way before the 7th of December. We persistently and unrepentantly stayed on the slippery slope to the humiliating defeat despite the several warning lights right in our faces. My honest wish was for corrective measures to be taken to avert this electoral disaster.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if I did not understand the dynamics of human nature and behaviour we would not have attempted 15th May. If I did not degrade what was intended on that 15th May, June 4th would not have happened. The eruption that took place on June 4th is what would have happened on 15th May.
If I did not understand the dynamics of human nature and behaviour, there would not have been the need for a return on 31st December 1981 and to successfully lead a revolution for ten years.
If I did not understand the dynamics of human nature, I would not have gone into multi-party democracy and won two free and fair elections.
If I did not understand the role and effect of injustice and corruption in the dynamics of human nature, we could not have won back the seat of government in 2008.
In spite of this history and performance, some handlers and manipulators who have profited from our past two governments want to promote a lie about the reasons for our failures in order to perpetuate their hold on the NDC party.
I don’t think I was the only one who saw the writing on the wall. Many people from our very own party I believe, could see the writing on the wall that we were going to lose this past election. It was obvious a long time ago that we wouldn’t make it. Our general negativity, impunity, disrespect and corruption was taking us further and further downhill. About the time when most were living in the painful reality with stress and anger, that’s when some of us chose to be more impervious to reality. We had lost so much goodwill.
I kept providing the warning whenever and wherever I could, and in public as well. But no, once again the uncouth and uncultured in our party and government chose to insult and disrespect some of us. The genuine and true founders and elders (warriors and youthful fighters) of what has transformed into the NDC were being disregarded and disrespected way back from 2008 after victory was delivered on a silver platter.
With the passage of time a few too many selfish and greedy characters soon began to jump on board. There were some good people; very good people but leadership and the command structure did not empower them to override those who were destroying the party and the government. I have worked with good people all my life. I have worked with bad people all my life, some wicked, some with character defects but evil natured people must be kept away. Some of us, however, do not seem to have the cognitive intelligence to recognize their presence.
All the while we were feeling smug and comfortable because we thought the hidden division in the main opposition’s leadership was going to work so well in our favour. How so wrong could we be? How could we have for one minute made the mistake of thinking that the disloyalty at the senior leadership level was going to percolate into the grassroots of the NPP.
God’s given direction for leadership are the principles of integrity, probity and accountability. These principles are embedded in the collective conscience of the grassroots. There was a gaping disconnect between leadership and the masses as the latter was left disillusioned. To make matters worse the ordinary man felt even more insulted by the crass display of wealth by people who should have known better.
If the masses knew about the detrimental effects of the greed and avarice perpetuated by some of our own people in leadership they would never forgive us. Examples abound all around us. You need not stretch your imagination at all. If we all don’t do some careful introspection and openly show remorse for the betrayal of the people’s trust we might not recover in time for the next election.
The oppressive machinery will not desert us voluntarily. We need not shrink from honestly facing the conditions in our party and country today. This is the time to pre-eminently speak the whole truth, frankly and courageously.
But rather than facing the obvious truth about why we lost, Rawlings once again has to be made the scapegoat of their failures. I believe this time around our people have seen through it and we would embark on the right steps to regain our moral high ground. The moral high ground that we have abandoned and on which the new leader is now standing.
Let me assert my firm belief that the intrinsic ability of the NDC to rejuvenate and recapture the moral high ground is in no doubt. But it lies with the silent majority who would have to rise up and activate processes that will cleanse us.
We owe it as a duty to restore and protect the legacy that we fought for from the beginning.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;