Remembering Rawlings: Politics must be avenue to serve fellowmen

Jj Wife
former President Rawlings

Longest serving Late Ghanaian leader Jerry John Rawlings who passed on exactly a year ago today in one of his statements while on alive urged leaders to use politics to serve their fellowmen.

According to him, the exploitation of the masses by politicians for their selfish aggrandizement has the propensity to generate high level of anger among the people.

News Ghana has put together some interesting quotes of the ex-Ghanaian leader for readers as the family commemorates a year of his passing.

1. Whatever form of government we adopt as a people to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning for every individual; for politics, whatever its colour must be an avenue to serve our fellowmen.

2. Democracy is not realized merely by having a machinery for registering voters and getting them to vote every four years, but also by there being a machinery for identifying the needs of those voters in between the election periods, and monitoring the realization of those needs.

3. Nothing beats logic than a government that forces itself on its citizens. A genuine conducted electoral process should be without the harsh use of the armed forces, and without fear of intimidation. This is the best way to assure people that their will has prevailed, thus produces a cleansing effect in the society.

4. Food is a political weapon…Africa’s foremost defense is self-sufficiency in food. Until we attain a substantial measure of freedom from food dependency, we are vulnerable to manipulation by the wealthier nations.” “The test of religious belief is not in pious platitudes and cautious charity, but in positive and creative action.

5. It is not the absence of military interventions; which we seem to have achieved that will restore democracy, freedom, justice and development. What is required is the integrity of leadership and the ability to empower the people. Leadership should have confidence in our people and not feel intimidated by empowering them.

About Jerry John Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings popularly called J.J. Rawlings, was born on June 22nd, 1947 in Accra, then Gold Coast and now Ghana.

He was military and political leader in Ghana who on two occasions (1979, 1981) overthrew the government and seized power.

His second period of rule spanning December 31st, 1981 to January 6th, 2001) afforded Ghana political stability and competent economic management.

Rawlings was the son of a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother. He was educated at Achimota College and the Military Academy at Teshie, near Accra, capital of Ghana.

He was commissioned a second Lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force in 1969 and became a Flight Lieutenant and expert pilot, skilled in aerobatics.

In June 1979 Rawlings and other junior officers led a successful military coup with the purported aim of purging the military and public life of widespread corruption.

He and his Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) ruled the country for 112 days, during which time the former heads of state, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Lieut. Gen. Frederick W.K. Akuffo, were tried and executed. Rawlings then yielded power to a freely elected civilian president, Hilla Limann, who promptly retired Rawlings from the Air Force.

Rawlings continued to be a popular figure, however, and on December 31st, 1981, after two years of weak civilian rule during which Ghana’s economy continued to deteriorate, Rawlings overthrew Limann’s government, accusing it of leading the nation “down to total economic ruin.”

Rawlings established a Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) as the new government and imprisoned Limann and some 200 other politicians. “Peoples’ Defense Committees” (PDCs) were set up in neighbourhoods, as were workers’ councils to monitor production in factories.

When the failure of these and other populist measures had become clear by 1983, Rawlings reversed course and adopted conservative economic policies, including dropping subsidies and price controls in order to reduce inflation, privatizing many state- owned companies, and devaluing the currency in order to stimulate exports.

These free-market measures sharply revived Ghana’s economy, which by the early 1990s had one of the highest growth rates in Africa.

In 1992, in the first presidential elections held in Ghana since 1979, Rawlings was elected as president. He was re-elected during the country’s 1996 general elections and stepped down from the presidency in early on January 6th, 2001 as stipulated by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.

He took on the government of his successor, John Agyekum Kufuor on many issues for the next eight years. Rawlings is also criticised his former Vice President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills from his own party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who succeeded John Kufuor on January 7th 2009.

Mr. Rawlings was heavily criticised by his own party for rather having very cordial relations with current Ghanaian president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is from the New Patriotic Party.

After 19 years of exiting power, J.J. Rawlings died on November 12, 2020 at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after a short illness. Enditem

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