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Opinions of Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Columnist: Anzagra, Solomon

Of Ghana’s Peace and Democracy; Bravo, Ex-Prez. Rawlings

Power truly is a bottle of wine that when sipped, is enjoyed and furthered until the bottle is emptied and one realizes he is drunk and the incessant desire by leaders to hold on power, with African leaders now making mockery of modern ‘matured’ democracy even in the 21st century, has testified this assertion which indicates that Ghanaians, if gratifying, owe the former president lot of gratitude for bringing lasting democracy and peace to the country by ceding power at a time democracy was yet to cross babyhood in the African continent. And more importantly, as some one who experienced ‘naked brutality’ in the hands of previous leaders and entered power through the barrel of a gun. With leaders like Mugabe, Gbagbo, Biya and Gaddafi ruling in decades—though most times not in the general interest of the masses, and with general manipulation of national constitutions by leaders assuming a state of normalcy in the continent, it is not far from right for one to say the former president truly had the good of the people of this country at heart which he demonstrated by relinquishing power duly under the constitution enacted under his regime. His heartfelt love for the people of this country was also demonstrated through his constant relation with people at the grass root level, ranging from the lowest menial job to the highest office which gave the self worth and no sense of resentment for his administration. With the constitution enacted during his regime one can say he had all the chance to defy all democratic provisions at the international front –as is happening in most of these countries—and amend the constitution to suit his personal parochial interest which he never did. His establishment of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), empowered to hold regional debates and formulate suggestions for a transition to multi-party democracy to meet the people’s demand for more democratic governance is worth of mention in establishing the former president as an icon of democracy and peace not only in Ghana, but in Africa as a whole. With the lists going on and on as far peace and justice for this country is concerned, what is worth establishing is the fact that the former president was a vicar of peace and democracy because he returned Ghana to democratic rule in 1992, after a public referendum by a wide majority approved a new constitution and acted it out when his time came for him to cede power, thereby establishing a bench mark for democracy in the country. This, many African leaders find difficult to do, especially when they force in through the ‘hard way’. It is not therefore surprising to know he received the Hussein Martin Medal for world peace on behalf of the country in Cuba from the then president Castro. As some body who stood for justice all his life—though this nearly took away his life untimely under previous leaders— it is not very startling, to still find the former president today being very passionate about issues of injustice and unfairness which is sometime misunderstood to be witch hunting and political vendetta. with these land marks of peace and democracy established for the good of the masses today and generations yet to come, Ex-president Jerry John Rawlings has really and will forever remain one of the well-renowned fathers and part of the historicity of this country as far as peace, justice and all importantly, democracy are concerned; you are truly a blessing to this country if for nothing, for bringing this country from political anarchy in to constitutional rule, there are few in Africa who will kill their interest to serve the masses, Bravo!

Solomon Anzagra,