Politics of Wednesday, 13 June 2012
A youth member of the UK/Ireland Branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has lamented the apparent lack of confidence of young members of the party to propagate the values of the ideals of the June 4 revolutions which formed the foundation of the party. In a speech delivered by him in Milton Keynes on the occasion of the 33rd and 20th anniversaries of the June 4 Revolution and the inception of the NDC respectively, the cadre recounted the moral and economics decay that led to the revolution and called on the NDC youth not to shy away from the party’s history which is essentially embodied in Flt Lt JJ Rawlings.
He decried the current situation in the party whereby influential members of the party do not even find it convenient to associate themselves with Jerry Rawlings’ ideas but are keen to extol those of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who belongs to and founded a different political Party. He asserted that, just as the ideas of Nkrumah persist, “Jerry Rawlings and his ideals will always be with us”.
He therefore charged the youth to uphold the ideals of probity, accountability, integrity, freedom and justice at all times. In so doing they must eschew public vilification of each other and “engage in the things that unite us than those that divide us” to ensure the unity and victory of the NDC and Ghana as a whole. Read the full speech below
SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMRADE ALEXANDER BEDIAKO ON JUNE 4TH CELEBRATION IN MILTON KEYNES
Mr. Chairman, Distinguish guest, fellow Akatamasonians, Comrades, Ladies and Gentle men, I am humbled, and deemed it an honor to be invited to deliver a talk on an important occasion of 33rd anniversary of the June 4th Revolution and 20th birth day of our dear party, National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Human kinds sometimes quickly forget how we started when times are good, where we came from when we make new friends and how it was when there is disagreement over our directions to the future. On 4th June1979 the first authentic post-independence revolution led by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings took off. Today we celebrate 33rd anniversary of the popular and authentic Revolution which ushered Ghana, our beloved country, into a new dawn of probity, accountability, integrity, freedom and justice. The contribution of the June 4th Revolution to the state of Ghana today cannot be questioned.
“Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings woke up in the morning of Monday, June 4, trying to crystalise his thoughts for the final statement that he would make to the general court martial trying him for his May 15 abortive coup before being led away to the firing squad. Jerry Rawlings had reached the conclusion that he would be shot; what he cared most about was that the thoughts that had led him to carry out the operation which had led him to the special Brunch cell where he now lay, near the Border Guard headquarters in Accra should not go into the grave with him.”
Rawlings did not languish in prison for long. His confederates among the junior officers secured his release on June 4, and they immediately set about taking over power. Rawlings used a radio station to announce that he was forming an Armed Forces Revolutionary Council to oust Akuffo the then chairman of Supreme Military Council (SMC), and that this new council would hold power only until elections could return the country to civilian rule. Amidst much jubilation in the general population, Chairman Rawlings and his companions hastened to the presidential residence and assumed the leadership of Ghana.
In fact, the messengers of God, who claim today to be the architects of the June 4th, came in and freed chairman Rawlings to complete the assigned responsibility that delivered Ghana from the hands of corrupt individual that were exploiting the country’s resources for their benefits comfort at the expense of the masses.
In his determination to rid society of injustice and corruption, Jerry Rawlings and his fellow men formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and conducted what it termed "a housecleaning exercise", where large sums of stolen government money were retrieved into government coffers and inflation was stabilized. Daily radio announcements named suspected fraudsters and demanded their appearance before the AFRC.
Fellow Akatamasonians, the comprehensive account or story of the June 4th uprising cannot be told without an honest reminder of the horrible and dilapidated conditions that prevailed at the time and, which eventually necessitated the revolution.
Comrades, the economic conditions before the revolution were very, very unbearable and have been described in some academic quarters as shambolic. In fact the economic degradation that our beloved country Ghana found itself in was due to the series of military takeovers and equally and importantly the incompetent quasi-democratic civilian regimes that were in control of the nation’s affair at the time. I still remember how the state of Ghana’s looked like before the coming of J. J. Rawlings, the modern father of Ghana. Our industries were collapsed, progressive development projects were abandoned, the Judiciary was a failure, public institutions have all stopped function and in fact, about 90% of our road networks were not motorable. It took me 4 days to travel from Accra through Kumasi to Min in the Brong-Ahafo region.
All these guys took turns in festering, aiding, and abetting in the life-threatening level of corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s resources: it was only Jerry Rawlings and June 4th movement who brought a clear departure from the abominable norms of the time. J.J Rawlings, in fact, must be seen as the greatest national security assets. The presence of Jerry Rawlings has put a stop to all military coups in Ghana since then. This was so because, the June 4th uprising was not financed by imperialist colonial masters. In fact, it was undertaken by men of conscience, principle and integrity who were passionate of correcting the canker that was eating up our values and society at large at the time.
Comrade and fellow Akatamasonians, today some influential members of the society and some political party members who don’t even find it convenient to sit on their own political benches to talk want you to believe that Jerry Rawlings, who is still alive is of no relevance to the success of the NDC, the party he initiated some 33 years ago but ironically they find it convenient to preach the values of Nkrumah to us. What a twisted logic! Let no one deceive you and make no mistake about it, Jerry Rawlings and his ideals will always be with us. Political ideologies always start as a result of an action started by one person: from a social-scientific viewpoint, an ideology is more or less coherent set of ideas that provides a basis of organized political action, whether this is intended to preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power relationship. This is what happened on the 4th June 1979.
Fellow Akatamasonians, is it not surprising therefore that the NDC government have chosen not to celebrate the event that gave birth to it? I cannot believe this and there is absolutely no justification for this stance from our leaders. This makes me remember the story told by Eric Blair also known as George Orwell; I mean the story of the animal farm and what happened afterwards. Comrades permit to quote one of our own in recent time.
He said “in a reliable and trusting association or group where the ideals and purposes of the association or group are respected and obeyed no group member ought to use any outside channels to address or correct in-group mistakes or wrongs that are likely to affect the objects of the group. But where the leadership in the association instead of taking criticisms in private in good faith, spins the criticism to within both the group members and to the public to discredit and defame the genuine critics, conflict studies and resolution theory and practice grants a right to put the association back to its original ideals through sub-group and public tacit bargaining. If you were just a pretender who joined the group for other motives than its objects, then you just leave the group. If you are really a committed member of the group’s objects you do not leave it to those who are breaking the ground rules of trust in accepting genuine criticisms but use every means to return the group to its original objects to achieve the cherished principles and ideals”. Why should we allow situations to degenerate to this level before we learn? Why should we allow ourselves for people to question our ideals of probity, integrity, accountability, freedom and justice?
Comrades in the society we live in today, people believe that we the masses could not be trusted to make coherent and informed decisions on our own, and that guiding our opinion is indispensable within any democratic society and as such the media has constantly been used to drive the agenda of the privileged few who have the means to hire the media. I am not disputing the media’s ability to foster public debate and political engagement, nor am I saying the media has no ability to redistribute power and political influence. But my concern is that when this turns negative and assassinate one’s hard earned reputation, we must be concerned as political party because it has serious consequences not only for us as a political party but to society at large since the attempt is to exclude men of conscience from the political-space.
The centuries-long history of how the media has been used to whip nation into wartime frenzy, dehumanize the supposed enemies, and even to manipulate the public into believing in causes for war that decades later, were admitted to be completely fictitious is still with us. Don’t believe everything you see, hear and even feel in the media, you may end up selling your family and future for nothing. Be courageous to speak your mind all times and be critical in analyzing issues that come before you and ask more questions. It only through this exercise that you can help yourself in establishing the facts as it pertains to the issue.
Comrades it is important to understand the fact that Ghana is the one that we must consider in the larger picture and the NDC’s victory is the victory of ordinary and truthful Ghanaians guided by the proven history and performance of a Social Democratic Party and government. The evolution of contemporary viable democracy in Ghana today was based on the struggles by ordinary people led by Flt Lt J. J. Rawlings for political space and voice, initially on a non-partisan basis under the PNDC, and subsequently, in a constitutional framework of multiparty democracy under a government of the NDC. Constitutional democracy, thus emerged on the bedrock of commitment by ordinary people to work hard to produce the nation’s wealth, to uphold truth, abhor corruption, and distribute the benefits of hard work equitably for the greater, social and economic wellbeing of all Ghanaians. Fellow Akatamasonians and comrades, if fail or refuse to accept the reality as a nation, then we shall continue to hope for the moon and continue to be at the mercy of those who have built their country and economy by relying on their citizen’s honest participation in nation building!!
As election 2012 approaches, let us all engage in the things that unite us than those that divide us. In victory, we will renew our commitment to unite our country once again, by ensuring that development occurs in a manner that is compassionate and which the prosperity of the greatest number of our citizens is cardinal. God Bless Ghana, God Bless NDC and God Bless you all for listening to me.
Prepared and Delivered By: Alexander S Bediako, London.