Former President Jerry John Rawlings has charged African leaders to wake up from their slumber and speak on issues that will help to build and maintain a national conscience and morality.
In a meeting with former President of Cape Verde, Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires, he expressed concern about the noiselessness of Africa on global issues, describing it as “disturbing.”
He said though there had been so many negative developments since the collapse of the bipolar world (East-West divide), Africa has remained too quiet.
Mr. Rawlings cited the persecution of Palestinians by the Israelis and the treatment of Yemenis by Saudi Arabia as examples and wondered whether Africa’s silence could be attributed to the extent to which the west has compromised the continent.
The former Ghanaian leader said while freedom fighters like Kwame Nkrumah could not change some of the problems associated with the Cold War, they made pronouncements, which kept the younger generations in touch with what was politically desirable.
“It helped to build and maintain a national conscience and morality. There is nothing, which prevents today’s leaders from making pronouncements condemning the Israel-Palestinian issue for instance. How do today’s leaders expect that there won’t be a decline within their nations in terms of the moral fabric of our societies?” former President Rawlings stated.
Ex-President Pedro Pires, who is in Ghana to deliver a series of lectures at the Tamale Campus of the University of Development Studies (UDS), paid a courtesy call on Mr Rawlings in Accra on Saturday.
Rawlings also referred to the recent allegation that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Syria, stating that the west was once again attempting to force the hand of the world to accept its military strikes in that country. He said had Russia not exercised restraint on the matter, “we could have been on the brink of a Third World War.”
Flt. Lt. Rawlings noted, “We are very slowly losing the concept of freedom and justice, the way we’ve known it. We have to speak out.”
Responding, Mr Pedro Pires observed that many on the continent do not have the moral authority to speak against global injustices, describing Libya as one of the worst injustices that had been imposed on Africa and the world. He said, “We are suffering all the consequences of the brutal change of regime, which has given room and opportunities to fundamentalists to do whatever they want in that country.”
He said the elite had monopolized the state and the state seems to only serve the interests of the elite. “We have to think, plan and decide how to effect change,” he entreated.
The former Cape Verde leader commended the role Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and for that matter, Ghana, played in setting the tone for the liberation of African states as well as the African unity agenda.
“We can disagree with President Nkrumah but he has an exceptional place in African history,” Mr. Pires pointed out.
Mr. Pirez was accompanied by Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Chairman of the UDS Council; Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, UDS Vice-Chancellor; Dr. A.B.T. Zakariah, Registrar and Michael Ansa, Assistant Registrar at the UDS Accra Office.
Other members of the delegation were Indira Pires, Executive Director of the Pires Institute for Leadership and Manuela Atevedo of the ECOWAS Secretariat, who acted as interpreter.