Before systems are made strong, they need strong people. In a way, Paul Kagame was right just as Obama was in their battle of words that have become popular political quotes all over the world.
In the Third World, institutions are still at their infancy stage and will require people who are strong in all wise, especially morally and ethically with high level of integrity to set strong standards and benchmarks for an integrated sustainable development.
Humans love for pearls, diamonds and gold is as old as time itself, but in each age, people do not notice that there are more of these pearls on the surface of the earth than there are beneath. The human potential cannot be compared with all the gold in the world put together.
When an individual like J. J. Rawlings is critically analyzed with the eyes of wisdom, one cannot but conclude that he holds a vital role in shaping the destiny of Ghana. He is a precious jewel on the surface of the earth, and many Ghanaians don't hide their feelings towards this truth. What we need to ask ourselves is, how best can we benefit from these jewels? People like these spend almost 80 per cent of their lives dealing with issues of humanity than their personal interests. People who know President Rawlings very well will attest to this - A true colossus of human development, leadership, respect and empathy for humanity.
The discipline of our children cannot be valuable enough if we don't teach them the ethics of honouring the ancestors, their heroes and their elders. Somehow along the line, the NDC party is losing the very core values that should hold communities or a nation together. Just as we need education, that's how we need traditional or cultural values. Thus, the Bible says, "Honour your father and your mother..." This verse is not only for biological relationships but also for the elderly and the wise in society.
A society or any organization that abandons the respect for these values cannot possibly be virtuous and will not succeed, and if it does at all find success, it will not last.
In the 2016 election season, Ghana witnessed one of the biggest advertising campaigns in the history of elections, yet with all of these, NDC lost the elections to their main opponent, the NPP.
From a distance, many ponder over what could have been the reason for the fatal defeat, and others have advanced various reasons. Some attributed it to the fact that J.J. Rawlings was disgruntled with the trend of Ghanaian politics under the leadership of the party, which he is referred to be the founder of and the "Papa." It's no secret that he couldn't hide his feelings.
Some members of the NDC never liked this approach for party political reasons but some, even across the country saw how sincere JJ was and still is, in his love for his nation. I think we can affirm the behavioural characteristics of this astute leader from his youth and what he stands for. Some of you know him better than we the younger generations.
They say change is inevitable but what kind of change should we expect from revolutionaries like Papa J, Comrade Fidel Castro of blessed memory, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, etc?
In my opinion, the biggest asset to this set of people is their values, ideologies and principles. You can negotiate everything with them but not their foundational principles. They prefer to die with it to anything else. Let's go deeper and critically examine our Papa, H.E. Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.
Having founded the party, its goal was basically the transformation of Ghana from a poor to a rich nation while keeping intact the values and virtues that make the African man culturally civilised. J.J. Rawlings was disappointed to see the erosion of that vision and the values that he had worked tirelessly for at the risk of his life, and the life of many others.
Our next question is what went wrong after Rawlings? Just look around and re-examine the milestones of Ghana.
No one can pretend that all is well in the NDC even now. The results of the 2016 elections was one of the wake-up calls, and NDC members must truly be awakened so that the party can salvage the cracks and broken poles of the great Akatamanso and get fully prepared for the future. The hope is, it is possible.
But how can we achieve that?
Probity, accountability and those moral values that are the best foundation for sustainable development are conspicuously missing and rapidly eroding in leadership today and it is important that members of the party and for that matter the nation, revisit the foundation from which they took-off their political marathon.
On the 4th of June 1979, a new page in the Ghanaian political history opened up with a revolution that will change the face of Ghanaian socio-political and economic climate forever. The centre of that revolution was J.J. Rawlings.
When the NDC was founded, it was hoped that it would stand as a party that will work together with the Ghanaian masses and forge a brighter future for all Ghanaians. Some Ghanaians say, if the leaders of the party are unable to live up to the dream of the founder, it will be good to leave and join another party since there are many parties in the nation. Same will happen to others that will disappoint the aspirations and hopes of our country men and women. We leave but for the people. It is very important for us to draw policies and programmes that will be people centred.
Secondly, if the leaders will disrespect the father of the house and dishonour the revolutionary principles that are truthful, which stands as their bedrock, it cannot but be concluded that they are ignorant of the universal principles that tie the energy of pioneers, founders, initiators, inventors and creators to their projects. It is a blessing for the party to have the founder still alive and strong. Heeding to his advice is wisdom and no one can be correct by saying otherwise.
Many have advised that J.J avoids appearing at public events to criticize leaders. What they do not realize is many such criticisms have helped gaged the political atmosphere of this nation towards development and progress; considering how politics is vulnerable to corruption. Rawlings has proven beyond reasonable doubt that his criticisms are for the benefit of Ghana and not for his glory. He is not seeking notice, nor is he begging for respect. He is looking for the best ways to plant the roots of Ghana down deep into wells and rivers under the earth's crust so that even during stormy and dry seasons, Ghana will strive. Interestingly, the Ghanaian masses understand him better than some of the current party cohorts.
We need no prophet to tell that Rawlings will not chastise any president or leader of any party who is honestly working to uphold those values that I have listed above. I am open to suggestions as to how best the approach could be. Should we assume he doesn't consult or talk to the leaders internally? Or offer advice if need be? Have we taken the trouble to analyze what pushes him to go public? Have we ever tried to know the reasons? Something should be the reason and I entreat us all to find out. "We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free".
The sad development is, some individuals thrive on theses diatribes and fuel the situation the more.
How can we save the broken Umbrella?
The solution to the quagmire the party finds itself after the mortal defeat of the 2016 elections will require the re-animation of the original values of the party. I must take the moment to congratulate the party for the establishment of its Party School - Ghana Institute of Social Democracy, an incubator Institute, vital for building capacity for the party and institutionalizing its ideal to the emerging leadership. It serves as the pool for institutional reference and ideological propagation. Someone may say, what is left is a strategic and sustainable vision to move it into the future as an International Centre of Excellence for Social Democracy.
The question of who takes leadership for 2020 for both the executive positions and for flagbearership remains highly debatable but I will try to expand on this subject later in my next paper - Who Can Save the Broken Akatamanso?
Names keep popping up but are they the people Ghanaians want?
In the state in which the party finds itself presently, unity is the most important commodity needed to wash off the scars of defeat, and realign the party to the aura of greatness that it deserves. There is no doubt J.J. is the best centre on which the unity of the party can be solidly planted for a long time.
Understanding the human nature is a skill that J.J. has perfected with time. A leader who follows his footsteps and receives his chastisement is not losing but acquiring the wisdom of ethical leadership that has become so scarce due to the immoral global political trend. Although confronted with internal and international challenges for ages, J.J. Rawlings has remained true to his promises for this nation and everyone can see it.
The commemoration of the revolution annually is not an annual event as usual but more of a reminder to party members and Ghanaians at large that they will not tolerate, misuse of public funds, corruption and mediocrity on the land again, and that any leader who fails to align to the values of probity, accountability and morality; the backbone of sustainable development, will be sending a clear message to Ghanaians that he or she is the enemy of progress. This is applicable to any party in government. It can be cancerous. Let's avoid it now. Even perceptions in politics can be more dangerous than the realities. It's imperative, we carry ourselves in terms of how we exhibit power and people's interest.
Emulating the example of Rawlings, therefore, is not only important but should be the pattern that proves NDC leaders and members are in pursuit of the vision of the party, and that they have Ghana at heart.