On December 31, 1981, Rawlings, supported by lower-ranking soldiers, most of whom served in the Reconnaissance Regiment, seized power to cure what they said were deep-seated corruption and harsh economic situation.
Rawlings then established the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to rule the country, dissolved parliament, and banned all political parties.
On January 21, 1982, Rawlings appointed a sixteen-member civilian government with a cabinet of secretaries and told them to “serve the people sacrificially.”
The PNDC also assumed control of the Ministry of Defence. The Rawlings regime further consolidated its power by promulgating PNDC Law 42, which suspended the constitution and gave the government wide powers over Ghanaian citizens.
On Monday, December 31, 2018, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by Mr Rawlings, held the 37th anniversary of the revolution.
It was held under the theme, “Deepening the Core Principles of Good Leadership for Political Governance”.
Read Mr Rawlngs’ full address below.
ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS AT THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 31ST DECEMBER REVOLUTION MANDELA PARK, ASHAIMAN
MONDAY 31ST DECEMBER 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Another year draws to a close in a few hours and as we take stock of 2018, we also remember events that led to the 31st December Revolution and the decade that changed Ghana’s history – a history that some have sought to distort for their selfish ends to the detriment of the future of many of our youth who have been fed on political half-truths and total falsehoods.
It is quite positive that some have taken it upon themselves to present the facts as they are and even develop them into theatre productions in a bid to tell the history through the arts.
I welcome you all to today’s durbar in Ashaiman. Afiii ooo to all present.
Ladies and Gentlemen, tackling corruption at all levels of our society is an issue I never get tired of speaking about. Corruption and indiscipline is a plague that we should take very seriously if we are to achieve true development in our country.
If we do not uproot the main stems of corruption in this country, soon we will also contribute to the consolidation of the evil of corruption. We would have squandered another God-given opportunity to free this country and restore its soul and our humanity.
If the practice of multi-party democracy can work for Western powers, is there any reason why it shouldn’t work for us? Could it be because of the influence and power that vices like untruthfulness, injustice and the general political immorality wields over the virtue of principles? And yet these principles are very much a part of our black African culture. If the same practice of multi-party democracy can bring the best or close to the best out of them, why does it bring the worst out of us? And once again is it because we have elevated wrongdoing to an acceptable level where there is no outcry of condemnation and as a consequence we wholeheartedly embrace the corruption we are steadily breeding?
The simple answer is our refusal to liberate truth and justice. To accord truth and justice the place of respect in our lives. If injustice, lying, stealing and robbery can comfortably be used in our everyday lives by both the rulers and the ruled then we seem unaware of the serious consequences.
Events like today’s should be an avenue to confront the realities of our current political circumstances. For political expediency and sheer fleeting personal comfort many of us have thrown out the true ideals behind the sacrifices of 31st December and June 4th. The injustice, the corruption, the lying and the plain thievery that we experience and witness daily is only an expression of who we have become. Within our own political family and of course on a national scale, liberating truth and justice is almost alien to us. We may speak against it at public forums like this but many of us will go back and further perpetuate the negatives in their quest for political power and control.
We can never liberate our country with such a masquerade, Ladies and Gentlemen!
As we bemoan the lack of truth and justice in our daily lives, we have to confront some of the challenges that further aggravate our social, political, cultural and economic circumstances. As many as 4.5 million West Africans from neighbouring countries have added unto our population. This is the official figure. The true figure however is likely to be three times more. This has undoubtedly increased the stress on our space and resources. Added to this, is the rampant stealing, robbery and brazen killings we are experiencing as a country.
Majority of Ghanaians do not have the luxury of engaging in the trading activities of some of our visitors or in their lawlessness, something that our police sometimes handle with kid gloves.
Ladies and Gentlemen, citizens of the developed world started working their way out of their poverty when they woke up to the consequences of lack of family planning. Are we ever going to wake up to the realisation that the discipline and accountability that comes with family planning fosters development? If we however start taking measures to re-engage the discipline of family planning as we did during the Revolution, what measures are we going to put in place to ensure that the space we toiled for is not taken over and consumed by non-Ghanaians, many of whom do not even carry the required ECOWAS identification cards?
Before I take my seat, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important that I refer to one of the challenges that has affected the quality of integrity in our party. Per the regulations of the NDC, every member is expected to pay a token annual fee to justify their membership. Unfortunately, though we have millions who sympathise with the ideals of the party many prefer not to offer their widow’s mite to the successful management of the party. This has resulted in a situation where a few individuals have constituted themselves into power brokers who dictate the direction of the party by holding it to ransom with their financial strength. The vast majority of the party have become subservient to the dictates of these power brokers.
It is imperative that members own and actively participate in the activities of the party by contributing their widow’s mite at all levels. We need to devise a mechanism that makes it attractive to pay our dues and levies. In conscientizing members on their obligations, ease of payment, proper records, transparency and accountability should be embraced. This will energise the base, deepen commitment and enhance the chances of winning elections.
Some senior members of the party are vying to lead the party to the next election. In their messages to the rank and file, it is important that they inculcate the spirit of inclusiveness in the processes of the party. The process should not be of how much your candidate can give you, but how committed you can be to your party. Let us listen to ourselves in the choices we make. Let us not allow material and monetary inducements to sway our judgement. The power belongs to us.
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the major challenges facing our world is the threat of global warming created by the emission of ‘greenhouse’ gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which then tend to trap heat, leading to the melting of glaciers in colder climates, rising sea levels, deterioration of our forests and the dwindling numbers of our wild life. The rate at which global warming is rising threatens human existence. The terrible heat we are experiencing is not by accident. We contribute our bit through the reckless burning instead of responsible disposal of refuse. Industries release large doses of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with many making no effort to embrace more environmentally safer ways of production. It is necessary that we do not look at some of these threats as problems belonging to other parts of the world. The crisis is real and the earlier we educate ourselves on these issues and make individual choices to have a less polluted atmosphere the better it will be for our world.
I face a few dilemmas and I would very much have wished to share some of these concerns with you and to hear your opinions. I will however end here by wishing all Ghanaians a Happy and Wonderful New Year.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.