I am called Naval Capt. Baffour Assasie-Gyimah (Rtd). They also say in truth that I am a farmer by nature, a lawyer by profession, a soldier by vocation and a politician by default.
I have, like most of you, lived in this country all my life and by that fact, been witness to the gains and vicissitudes of the Ghanaian situation.
We saw independence with our own eyes, we were part of the Republican status, witnessed the 24th February debacle, saw 1969 and also the 1972 coup that we initially embraced and actively participated in its programmes including the construction of the Atsutuare Dam. By 1979 the persons we perceived as heroes had turned villain personified and invited the 4th June 1979 uprising
I recall not with any nostalgia, the unacceptable corruption, hopelessness and a watchful citizenzry looking for a way out of that labyrinth. So hopeless had the Ghanaian situation become, that the vast majority of our people feared for the worst and thought we would be fighting and killing each other for survival. Signs of looming calamity could be seen on the walls.
Some of us joined the military at that time as with the belief that the ability to defend oneself would be an advantage. June 4th which was an uprising at that time was then considered salvation because it had a semblance of restoring, order and sanity into the Ghana Armed Forces and the political system. In the end lives were lost, some very unfortunately and some perceived to be deserving. Whatever lives that were lost could not be brought back and so very regrettable.
These were the heroes of the revolution; But for their blood the country would not have been the same. Others were punished for their culpability. You would be surprised to hear that people were shot dead ostensibly for taking bank loans of not more than Fifty Cedis at the time! Look at Our Beloved Country now or cast your mind back to at least the last fifteen years and determine for yourselves whether Ghanaians have learnt any lessons.
For me, the perpetual flame of 4th June which we celebrate today reminds me that fellow citizens paid the supreme prize for less. That is why I am using this occasion of the 35th Anniversary of 4th June to invite all of us on the four obvious matters that have the potential to drag thisour beloved country back to a situation far worse than what some people considered to be far worse than unwelcome on 4th June 1979.
See how the country is polarised. See the extent of indiscipline in
the country see how filth has engulfed us and also see how all our institutions are corrupted to the core, from politicians almost to the last man. But before then why are so much engulfed in filth?
It is imperative for us Ghanaians, to ask ourselves why we are engulfed l in filth as never before in the 21st Century. Visit less endowed countries and you will realize that the descent sanitation we yearn for, others take it for granted. We do not have to be rich before we take good care of our environment particularly both liquid and solid waste. I am a farmer and I rear pigs among others that some think are very dirty animals.
Pardon me to say that the first day you put pigs in a pen, the first thing they do is to demarcate a place for pee and lavatory respectively before they will even eat their first food in the pen at a separate place. Pigs don’t litter unnecessarily. It is painful to use this analogy but the hard truth is that the hygiene practice of some human beings is nothing to write home about. I don’t need to mention names of places. This is all inspite of the fact that we have institutions established and paid to be responsible for the environment and our behavioural values. There is a total failure of us and our institutions.
We are indisciplined, just take a look at our behaviour on the roads be it as drivers, riders or pedestrians. Roads get choked just because nobody would want to respect traffic regulations. Drivers and pedestraians cross the red lights with impunity and nothing is done to them.
But I remember during the June 4th Uprising, no one needed to be reminded to respect rules and regulations neither were they chased to keep filth at bay.
We as a people have allowed politics to divide us to the extent that even hardened and petty criminals get off the hook only by flying political party cards and flags. Just commit even murder and have as a defence the fact that you belong to one or the other party and that is the reason why people are accusing you of the crime.
This is laughable but it is unfortunately the analogous truth in which crime in this our dear country has assumed political coloration. We have made party politics a matter of life and death without caring to learn that the countries from which we borrowed these concepts do not themselves see party politics as being divisive of citizens they put country first above all other considerations.
In Ghana we have come to perceive that our party is always right and paramount and our country and its people are secondary. This accounts for why one hears from respectable Ghanaians that our party politics is a winner takes all system which need to be changed.
This gives the impression that party politics is for sharing the benefits of power amongst the winners only. The concept is self-defeating and it is an avenue for corruption endorsement. This attitude must change if we must build a united country that puts GHANA FIRST.
There is too much corruption in this country. Ghanaians have become too bold and fearless of the repercussions corruption. Gone are the days when politicians were scared of displaying even whatever wealth they had legitimately acquired. Now they do not care to show how many mansions they have built within the short period of entering politics when they can never explain how their earnings could account for the sudden wealth.
Why can’t we Ghanaians enter politics to serve? Why can’t we be like the President of Uruguay who still lives in his own little house and still drives his 1986 VW Beetle vintage? It is a blessing to be President of a country. As leaders we must learn how we how to leave a mark for posterity.
How much food does an African President eat? How many clothes does an African Minister President wear? How many cars can an African President drive? How many houses can an African President live in? What about the Ministers, What about the Members of Parliament, What about the Public servants. Comrades, have you ever seen any leader being buried with these wealthy items? Comrades – WHY THE GREED.
One day, I was watching a MEET THE PEOPLE programme on TV and a gentleman came out to ask the sitting President whether before his MAKER he could say to the people of Ghana that he had not stolen any wealth belonging to the people of Ghana.
We need to put this type of questions continuously to our leaders because it is only when leaders learn to be upright that they can check their subordinates. They say the fish does not rot from the tail. This is the moment of truth because this country cannot be so down socially, economically and politically. What has happened to all our resources? Why are we permitting the creation and accumulation of unjustifiable Judgements Debts.
Why are we not robustly defending the interest of the Republic of Ghana in court against unjustifiable claims. Why are we permitting spouses of public officers defending the Republic from taking monetary benefits from alleged Judgement debt claimants – and no one complains OR actions taken OR are such things Normal?
It is high time voices of integrity in this country are heard be they from NPP, CPP, PNC, PPP or NDC etc. This Country is headed closer to the precipice and to our own destruction. Stop the greed now; and don’t even look back it could be too late.
The voices of integrity must rise now because a stitch in time always saves nine. Let me say it is not only the politician we must watch because corruption now is very widespread and has pervaded all sectors of our country. It ahs been argued Someone has even argued that it is better for one leader to be corrupt and at the same have the ability to stop everybody from being corrupt.
In that way, corruption could be fought on only one front instead of many fronts as they are now. It is further argued that the worst scenario is a leader who though not perceivably corrupt, looks on for others to rape the economy without checking them. My position is that the leader of a country or the leader of any workplace must himself be incorruptible and at the same time make corruption a high price to pay for all his followers.
Ladies and gentlemen, this country is too precious for greedy people to destroy. There is a looming Armageddon that could make June 4th a child play. We made a vow to this country that 31st December was to be the last coup.
The vow is holding and we believe it would hold. If we don’t change our ways, next time it will not be a coup detat it could be an Armageddon springing from the constitutional sovereign will of the people themselves who will not be able to apply brakes like military coup makers have applied in the past so far. We have had our Rawlingses.
Be the citizen vigilante like Martin Amidu of your own time today by not just speaking out but also taking steps, so that we can all as one people come together to disperse the gathering clouds no matter our political persuasion.