Rawlings says Ghana inspires
Accra, May 20, Ghanadot/GNA –
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has observed that
directions taken by countries such as Ghana have served as a
source of inspiration to many countries in Africa and
“As leaders of our countries, we have a responsibility to
gauge the mood of the people and always move the political
train in a direction that ensures that the electorate feel
their interests have been served,” he said in a lecture he
delivered on “Democracy and Security in Africa” under the
auspices of the Oxford Research Network on Governance in
Africa in London on Tuesday.
The former president said in his lecture, a copy of which
was e-mailed to GNA, that democracy made true meaning when
it was the kind of governance that advertised true people
He said security and political stability were key for real
socio-economic development and that security relied on a
genuine democratic culture.
Former President Rawlings said the multiparty system of
governance “prescribed and inflicted on us by some Western
powers did not factor the social cultural fabric of our
traditional political system that existed before Western
“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 ability to empower the people. Leadership
should have confidence in our people and not feel
intimidated by empowering them,” he said.
The former president said corruption had persisted because
leaders had used state machinery to terrorise the people and
silence the opposition.
He also noted that “vested interests from outside” had also
contributed to perpetuating this by whitewashing such
corrupt and autocratic governments.
Former President Rawlings said while national security
involved protecting the state, its institutions and
sovereignty, human or political security entailed
issues of poverty, basic amenities, employment, and abuse of
The former president said it was most unethical and
politically unwise to attempt to govern a people by
resorting to a high ratio of physical security as opposed to
“Are we not violating people’s human rights, sensibilities
and sensitivities with the use of the coercive machinery of
the state by terrorising people into a State of
subjugation?” he asked.
Former Rawlings said on the other hand, a high ratio of
political/human to physical security was a mark of good
leadership and a demonstration of confidence in the sense of
responsibility of people as this empowered the people.
“If we have the courage to empower our people, it then
demands of us a leadership that will necessarily be
accountable to the people, be transparent and maintain a
high degree of integrity.”
Former President Rawlings also said the use of the judiciary
to jail innocent people contributed to instilling fear and
emasculating the populace.
“In effect, it creates a false and intoxicating sense of
security for the leadership at the expense of the security
and the empowerment of the citizenry. We then get away with
being corrupt dictators. Integrity, transparency and
accountability become meaningless in our leadership. Fear,
intimidation and terror tactics are the tools of corrupt
Former President Rawlings said security could not exist in a
vacuum but always overlapped with the political environment.
He said in Africa, democracy and security had always been
bedfellows, saying the democratic system of governance
related to the free and equal representation of the people
in the management of a country.
Former President Rawlings said democracy worked only when it
had evolved within a specific socio-cultural environment and
fused into the traditional political systems such that it
was seen as an indigenous product, but unfortunately Africa
had not been given the opportunity to develop this.
Turning to Ghana, the former president traced his rise to
power and said the country underwent political and economic
metamorphoses that every true proponent of democracy had to
concede, laid the fertile framework for what was regarded
today as a stable democracy.
He said when he his two terms of office ended and the
candidate of his party, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills lost the
election, he handed power to President John Agyekum Kufuor.
“The people’s will had decided that John Mills was not the
man to lead Ghana at the time. I respected that decision and
did not dream of taking power by force or passing a decree
to entrench my stay in power.”
He said the stability and smooth transitions recorded within
the first eight years of the Fourth Republic was a true
manifestation of the will of the people and a belief in the
leadership they had elected.
He said no government was without its negatives and he was
convinced that his government had some flaws “but what is
important is the fact that we were never alienated from the
ordinary folk who elected us into power to move this country
Mr Rawling said contrary to the assertion that the tradition
of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was truly democratic, “the
NPP government was an excellent example of an undemocratic
“Once you belonged to the party you did no wrong. Every
effort was made to obliterate the P/NDC legacy and the
institutions of government were so politicised that even
when they took decisions against government officials such
decisions were disregarded with impunity.
“Ghana once again sunk into a democracy of nepotism, non-
accountability, power to the rich and a complete disregard
for the feelings of the electorate.”
Former President Rawlings said more dangerous was the abuse
of the security services structure, the hounding and
persecution of some services personnel, refusal to follow
laid down promotion procedure and a complete politicisation
of the military.
“The NPP could not co-exist with institutions with forceful
integrity. The security services were not spared and the
judiciary took a serious beating as well. The NPP took us to
the abyss as far as democracy was concerned and such methods
do nothing to deepen or entrench democracy. It allows for
chaos, lack of confidence in the electoral process and
Former President Rawlings said Ghana had managed to stay
stable because of the culture of tolerance that had been
created between 1981 and 2000 and these achievements were
not due to pressures imposed by the West but a desire by a
people to prove that peoples’ power is most sacrosanct.