Western democracy 'suffocating' us - Rawlings
Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has said some countries in Africa and parts of the developing world have adopted democracy from the textbook without recourse to the intrinsic values of democracy in their local cultures.
“I have stated on several platforms that we adopted the language of the West without its integrity. We have used the English language as a symbol of authority and power but not as a symbol of respect and integrity. In the same vein, we have adopted democracy from the textbook without recognising and appreciating the intrinsic values of democracy in our own culture,” Mr Rawlings said when he addressed a durbar at Tadzewu in the Volta Region, to mark the mini-Hogbetsotso festival of the people of Anlo.
“The West is today getting a taste of the weaknesses of multi-party democracy that we have to put up with in our part of the world. While our old traditional culture of democracy was able to contain such weaknesses, the Western multi-party democratic practice appears almost incapable of containing corruption in its various forms. We have adopted the worst out of the West and used it to pin down and suppress the good qualities in our culture,” the former president said.
Mr Rawlings was also installed a chief of the Anlo State for his lead role in fostering peace and stability in Ghana, with the stool name Togbui Nutifafa Fiaga I.
Togbui Fiaga in his inaugural address expressed concern about the poor environmental and sanitation habits of Ghanaians.
“By contrast,” the former President noted, “the degradation of the environment is the quickest way to degrade our human self-worth, and a government or local authority that would butcher trees or watch the degrading of its environment, cannot expect people to behave responsibly in other facets of their life, or respect their government.”
President Rawlings described as a “gross indictment” the situation where formal education has rather led to the proliferation of poor hygienic habits and environmental degradation when the opposite was the case during the era of non-formal education.
The former President called on chiefs to recognise their roles as critical in ensuring peace and enriching national discourse, and said that “can only be achieved if we demonstrate integrity and truth even at the risk of sounding politically incorrect.”
President Rawlings thanked the chiefs and people of Anlo for the honour done him and dedicated the award to all peace-loving people in Ghana and across the world.
President at the ceremony was the Awoamefia of the Anlo State, Torgbui Sri III.