Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has called on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to embrace the politics of conscience, truth and the power of conviction as it seeks to return to power in 2020.
He said the party’s failure to apply its values resulted in the 2016 election defeat, adding that the re-embracement of the values will help the party in the campaign for 2020.
The strength of the NDC, the former President, said, lay in attaining political power through the power of the people, not the power of the affluent.
Flt. Lt. Rawlings said the party was not unified, not in touch with the grassroots and did not inspire confidence in the electorate in the run-up to the last election and called on the party to re-embrace its cores values of truth, integrity, probity and accountability.
In an address read on his behalf by a leading member of the party, Samuel Nuamah Donkor at a conference organised by former NDC Municipal and District Chief Executives in Accra on Saturday, the former President said the survival of the NDC has always hinged on the power of conviction.
“The voice and force of conscience and conviction is the only true weapon that the party needs to re-organise itself towards 2020 and beyond. Having a voice of conscience and conviction comes with true sacrifice. It is not an easy road. Those who hold strong beliefs and stand by them tend to suffer abuse, ridicule, insult and sometimes physical abuse but they remain resolute because truth cannot be adulterated. Truth is life, and the truth eventually overcomes,” Jerry John Rawlings said.
The former President also called on the party not to be swayed by the “crass monetization of Ghanaian politics which used to be alien to our party [NDC] and which unfortunately has contributed rather notoriously to the surfeit of negativity and divisiveness plaguing our party.”
The conference which was under the theme; ‘Re-organising the NDC for Victory 2020’ was addressed by leading members of the party including former President John Mahama and Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.
Read Rawlings’ full speech below:
ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS AT
THE CONFERENCE OF FORMER MMDCE’S
SATURDAY MAY 12, 2018
MENSVIC HOTEL, ACCRA
Members of the Council of Elders,
Former President John Mahama,
National Executive Committee members,
Members of Parliament,
Former Municipal and District Chief Executives,
Delegates and party sympathisers,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me express my gratitude to former Municipal and District Chief Executives for coming up with the initiative to organize this conference to share ideas on the theme: Re-organising the NDC for Victory 2020.
It is heartwarming that men and women who managed the various municipalities and districts have found it necessary to organize this forum to discuss the party’s fortunes in 2020 and beyond.
As we hold this dialogue to plot an agenda for a positive performance in 2020, we have to take due note that the re-organisation is a process that involves embracing our party’s core ideals and ensuring that we are not swayed by the crass monetization of Ghanaian politics which used to be alien to our party and which unfortunately has contributed rather notoriously to the surfeit of negativity and divisiveness plaguing our party.
Our motto of Unity, Stability and Development was not created in a vacuum. The motto was born out of the appreciation and belief that for our party and country to progress we needed to be unified in thought and deed, unified in truth and integrity, unified in transparency, probity and accountability and unified with a powerful and firm conviction to provide an equal opportunity for Ghanaians of all walks of life.
As a party, we succeeded against many odds to become a leading political force in the country. Our presence in the national political arena has contributed more than significantly to the success of the Fourth Republic and engendered the kind of public discourse and maturity of the electorate that has benefited the country in no small measure.
The NDC’s contribution to the socio-political stability of Ghana was due to our desire to embrace participatory governance, allowing the grassroots to have a significant say in the branches, wards, constituency, regional and national affairs. Today many of those who hold high office in the party are personalities who first identified their leadership qualities from wards and branches. The ideals that guided and projected them to leading party figures were their unparalleled conscience, sense of conviction and unbridled desire to sacrifice for God and country.
Ladies and gentlemen, we suffered a painful loss in 2016 and while it is important that we do not allow that loss to retard our progress, we also have to recognize the truth in what lost us the election and exorcise our party of the ills that made us lose in spite of the considerable resources at our disposal.
The NDC was not a unified party in 2016. The NDC was not in touch with the grassroots in 2016. The NDC was not a bastion of stability in 2016 and the NDC sadly did not inspire confidence in the majority of Ghanaians in 2016. The common denominator in these aforementioned flaws were the lack of conscience and conviction in our dealings with the electorate.
We are doing a lot to be heard in the public arena. The NDC is doing its best to put the government on its toes but are we doing our homework well? Are we doing enough to inspire confidence amongst our own sympathisers? Are we doing enough to convince the vast floating voter constituency?
We seem to have become masters of destroying our own and spend endless resources denigrating rivals because their opinions vary. Some of the words that have been exchanged between party members in the past few weeks and months make me wonder how we expect to sow unity and stability in the National Democratic Congress.
Ladies and gentlemen, the voice and force of conscience and conviction is the only true weapon that the party needs to re-organise itself towards 2020 and beyond. Our history, strength and survival have always hinged on the power of conviction – a firm belief in the pursuit of truth, integrity, probity and accountability. Having a voice of conscience and conviction comes with true sacrifice. It is not an easy road. Those who hold strong beliefs and stand by them tend to suffer abuse, ridicule, insult and sometimes physical abuse but they remain resolute because truth cannot be adulterated. Truth is life and the truth eventually overcomes.
My message to all gathered here today is let us wean ourselves of selfish tendencies and desire to seek political power for economic benefit. That cancer has eaten deeply into our party. Let us pursue truth with a conscience and the power of conviction – a belief in the ideals that established this party; a belief in the battles that we had to fight since 1979 and a quest to embrace ideas in an atmosphere of tolerance and brotherliness. The strength of the NDC lies in attaining political power through the power of the people not the power of the affluent.
If we relegate the true ideals we may attain power on a weak foundation and never be able to manage the country in an atmosphere of true participatory governance, which is what our successes have always thrived on.
Mr Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;
Thank you once again for the opportunity to share our thoughts on the fortunes of the NDC. I wish you all a safe journey back home and God bless us all.