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General News of Friday, 14 August 2009

Source: Chronicle

Editorial: Are you sure, Mr. Rawlings?

Though former President Rawlings has his bad side in Ghana’s political history, one cannot take the credit away from him for his principled objectivity when it comes to dealing with national issues. When his party - the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost power in 2000, he peacefully handed over power, but that did not make him keep quiet over commenting on national issues. He kept on criticizing the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government throughout their reign, until the latter lost the elections.

When the Atta Mills government took over, many Ghanaians believed that with Mr. Rawlings’ own party now in the driving seat, he would stop his criticisms, but this has not happened. He has on many occasions gone public to attack and chastise the current NDC government for their various acts of omission or commission.

To date, he has not stopped his open criticisms, though as the founder of the party, he is in a privileged position to privately offer the President whatever suggestions that he has. If Mr. Rawlings had chosen this path to address the government about its shortcomings, The Chronicle would have lauded his action as a mark of a good leader, who addresses issues from a nationalistic point of view, although some of his criticisms are sometimes very sour.

The Chronicle is disappointed by the claim made by the former President that he is unaware that NDC youth were going round the country seizing toilets and taking over the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) offices. In a recent interview he granted to Joy FM, Mr. Rawlings this time put his nationalistic instinct aside and told the reporter that he was not aware of this development.

Interestingly the same man had few months ago gone on air to state that the youth are putting up such behavior because President Mills has refused to sack corrupt officials appointed at the various work places by the Kufuor government.

The Chronicle sees this claim by Mr. Rawlings as an act of hypocrisy, unless he can prove that he did not utter those words that were attributed to him that President Mills was contributing to the behaviour of the NDC youth.

As a former President, he should espouse the truth and be nationalistic enough to condemn his party youth from taking the law into their own hands. If the NDC youth are dissatisfied with the way toilets are being run, they should use due process of the law to take them back, and not resort to what they are doing at the moment.

Should NPP come back to power tomorrow, and also start to repeat these NDC mistakes, Ghanaians including Mr. Rawlings would not be happy. We should therefore be bold enough to condemn all wrong actions.

The former President has a lot of influence over the supporters of NDC, therefore, he could have seized the opportunity offered by the interview on Joy FM to advice the rampaging NDC youth to put an end to their unlawful actions, instead of pretending he did not know what the youth of his party were up to. A democrat must accept good criticism in good faith. We therefore believe he would accept our position on the comment he made.