USUAL TACTICS! Jerry John Rawlings ‘Booming’ yesterday
Former President Jerry John Rawlings yesterday marked the 35 th anniversary of the bloody coup that shot him into political limelight with a lamentation: ‘Corruption is killing us.’
Ex-President Rawlings expressed the sentiment when he joined other cadres of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to mark the event at the infamous Revolution Square – right in front of the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, in Accra.
The day brought him nostalgic memories of the ‘dark days’ of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), which later metamorphosed into the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
‘If we were to use the yardstick of June 4, 1979, a lot more people would be paying a bigger price,’ he noted.
This, he said, was because ‘the rage of the country then exacted a high price from corrupters.’
‘How is it that now we are back in that dark tunnel, but with levels of corruption that we could never have imagined in those days?’ he quizzed.
Present at the event were former National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, former Deputy Defence Minister, Dr. Ebenezer Ayirebi-Acquah, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Martin A.B.K Amidu, Vice Chairman of the NDC, Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Kofi Adams and Navy Captain Baffour Asaase-Gyimah (rtd), who played a leading role in the revolution.
The only government official present was the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, who has been a constant face at such event.
The chief of Otublohum and Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council, Nii Doodu Nsaki III was also in attendance.
Mr. Rawlings could not believe how the country, which in recent years had been applauded across the world, has suddenly come to its knees, and asked rhetorically, ‘So why is it that on the ground and in the communities, people do not feel that they are any better off? Why do they feel instead that things have gone from bad to worse?’
He, however, blamed the situation on the growing levels of corruption in the country which he said ‘is killing us,’ wondering why Ghanaians would sit aloof and allow the amassers of illegally obtained wealth to thrive in the society while the people suffer and wallow in abject poverty.
That, according to Jerry, was exactly what led to the June 4 th uprising in 1979, saying, ‘So widespread was the identification with this moral outrage that Ghanaians from all walks of life came out spontaneously to support the revolution.’
According to him, ‘That was the message of June 4 th 1979. The attack on the moral fibre of Ghanaians was what led to the popular uprising of June 4 th .’
The former President said, ‘Alarmingly today, the scale of blatant corruption is far in excess of what we witnessed in those days.’
He said the galloping increase in prices, especially food prices – almost on a fortnightly basis- brings back memories of the situation we all decried as kalabule.’
Kalabule, which was the illegal buying and selling of goods which prices were controlled; and it came about as a result of traders hoarding commodities to create artificial shortages in order to push prices beyond the reach of the ordinary people in those days.
Mr. Rawlings noted however that ‘today there are no shortages.’
‘Food is plentiful yet the desperation that the sustained rise in food prices is creating has resulted in a situation where cheating is becoming the order of the day.’
The military Head of State, who later turned into a civilian President, underscored, ‘Today the cedi is under pressure because of high demand for imports. But even local foodstuffs are selling at prices that bear no relationship to what ordinary men and women have in their pockets. It is pushing people towards the brink.’
Apart from that, he indicated that ‘today many have difficulty affording a decent meal because of the escalating cost of food. A decent meal costs about GH¢7. This definitely must seem like a price too high to pay for a family meal.’
As prices go up beyond what is bearable, the former President said ‘people are again scrutinizing how their leaders live and what kinds of deals they are making.’
As always, he again blamed the NDC for not dealing with the appointees of the previous Kufuor administration.
‘The sacrilege we committed was that the NDC abandoned the altar of its high moral standing, abandoned the altar of service to God and man and some decided to eat off the table that Kufuor left behind,’ he charged.
He blamed the erstwhile Kufuor-led NPP administration ‘for setting in motion the moral and economic crisis that we are experiencing today.’
This, he said, was because ‘the investigation that Mills should have initiated never took place.’
‘When Kufuor’s government removed four zeros from the cedi, he overnight abolished the people’s economy, he abolished the people’s economy because he abolished the means to exchange goods below the value of 1,000 old cedis,’ describing it as a ‘very visible and concrete example of Kufuor’s mismanagement that we are all feeling the effects of.’
Jerry John Rawlings charged Ghanaians to renew their commitment to the virtues of the revolution – truth, probity and accountability.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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