31 December Revolution: This Country Ghana Is Not Going Back
"Fellow Ghanaians, as you will notice, we are not playing the national anthem. In other words, this is not a coup. I ask for nothing less than a Revolution- something that will transform this country. Fellow citizens, it is now left to you to decide how this country is going to go from today. We are asking for nothing more than popular democracy. We are asking for nothing more than the power to organize this country in such a way that nothing will be done from the castle without the consent and the authority of the people. In other words, the people, the farmers, the police, the soldiers, the workers - you, the guardians - rich or poor, should be a part of the decision-making process of this country".
Those were the words of Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings at about 10.00 am on 31st December, 1981 which subsequently gave birth to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and laid the solid foundations for our current political dispensation.
Founder Jerry Rawlings also reminded us on the same day that "to many of us, if not all of us, democracy does not just mean paper guarantees of abstract liberties" but also involves the provision of basic human necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and social justice "in the absence of which life is not worth living". These expressions were the foundation on which our ideals of Probity, integrity, accountability and social justice were firmly laid.
Today, a few questions are emerging as to why we are closely contested in national elections by the largest opposition group and whether the electorates can really differentiate between our policies (policies of NDC) and that of the opposition New Patriotic Party's? What are we not doing well? This is a question we must all be searching answers for, and the good news is that we have some time to quickly look for answers. There is no time for pride in our success now; as what matters now is how quickly we need to find solutions to our challenges that threaten our long term viability and survival as political grouping!
As we commemorate the 31st December Revolution, let us pause and cast our minds back to where we came from or started the journey from and remember that "The evolution of contemporary viable democracy in Ghana today was based on the struggles by ordinary people led by Flt Lt J. J. Rawlings for political space and voice, initially on a non-partisan basis under the PNDC, and subsequently, in a constitutional framework of multiparty democracy under a government of the NDC. Constitutional democracy, thus emerged on the bedrock of commitment by ordinary people to work hard to produce the nation's wealth, to uphold truth, abhor corruption, and distribute the benefits of hard work equitably for the greater, social and economic wellbeing of all Ghanaians".
Anthony Giddens said that our political lives are nothing without ideals, but the ideals are empty if they don't relate to real possibilities! Let us go back to the grassroots and let us engage each other irrespective of differences in opinion.
We salute you all on this occasion. Long live Ghana, long live NDC and long live the spirit of the Revolutions.