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Diasporian News of Thursday, 26 October 2006

Source: NANA SIFA TWUM, LONDON

Rawlings Addresses University Students In London

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has stated a united nation will always has a vision and sense of purpose, which can ensure good governance and economic growth.
He has therefore called on Black leaders around the globe to provide good leadership because when they give their people the right leadership, they will be prepared to sacrifice their lives for their nation. Sacrifice, he demonstrated is the key to national development.
The former president was delivering a lecture at a forum at the South Bank University in London, UK to mark this year’s Black History Month organised by the Students Representative Council of the University. His topic was ‘the Contribution of the African to modern history.’
He observed that Africa contribution to the world is quite enormous and the entire world will therefore have to rewrite the history of the continent. This is because Africa is not presented to the rest of the world as it is. This according to him calls for objectivity and real facts about the continent to be shared by all.
One such historical fact he noted ‘is that African societies preceded all other known human societies. Three thousand (3000) years ago, and prior to the emergence of the Greek civilization and the Roman Empire, the African had established cities of commerce and high levels of academic training.’
Former President Rawlings added that African empires had been created on the confederation of communities built upon complex kinship family networks, at a time when the societies of Europe were still in the pristine stage of isolated and warring tribal bands.
He questioned why after the many firsts for Africa, the continent is lagged behind the rest of the world.
‘Why is the African poor, starving and still developmentally backward, given the fact that his continent still controls over 60 percent of the world’s natural resources in gold, diamonds, bauxite, manganese and other ores, timber, fossil sources of energy, and numerous food and medical products?’ he enquired.
In the company of some of his lieutenants Mr. Rawlings said the independence created for the common people of Africa a revolution of rising material expectations. He expressed the view that when the imperatives of the global political economy, in the forms of unfair and exploitative trade, financial and technological relations frustrated these expectations, ‘our people’s disillusionment led to years of political instability.’
He cited countries like Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia and Ivory Coast as being victims of the worst phases of Africa’s political instability and national disunity.
He suggested there was the urgent need for the African to translate his proven physical and mental abilities into constructive nation building and stop relying constantly on external support.
In the view of the former president, the failure of the African to break into the forefront of modern civilization may be due in part to the competitive edge that other continents, especially Europe and North America have had.
He was however quick to add that ‘but we must also accept that Africans, both at home and in the Diaspora, have also contributed to this failure in a number of ways.’
Turning onto Ghana’s domestic issues he noted that there was no animosity between him and the sitting president, J. A. Kufour until he realised that ‘they don’t like me.’
Citing instances to buttress his point, Mr. Rawlings noted that at the time he was leaving office his wife was on a medical surgery list in Switzerland but Mr. Kufour refuse to approve of it.
His suggestion to the then new government to use some of the in his government for a transition was also not accepted. He said he did this with a clear mind. It is sad but I don’t want to be bitter, because bitterness will only eat you up.’ He lamented.
He accused the present government of forming an ethnic army adding that ‘they want to create violence. He was of the view that they attempt by president Kufour to cause confusion through any ethic factions especially, the Ashantis would not help him. This is because the Ashantis are not happy with him.
The former president condemned the Ghanaian judiciary and alleged that it was very corrupt and even the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan has told him that the judiciary situation would soon cause instability in the country.
Mr. Rawlings questioned why the western governments sit unconcern while ‘such a corrupt government continue to misrule the people.
‘This would not have happened in our time. During our time, he noted that the Western media were all over him and reported him from close range, with the reports largely critical of his administration; however, the present government is in bed with the media so nothing negative is reported, apart from neutralising the judiciary.
The SRC President of the University, Mr. Victor Ofosu thanked the former President and the other speakers for their messages. He urged the students to champion a good cause the black race.