Former President, Jerry John Rawlings, has once again gone dancing around the growing menace of corruption in the country under the Akufo-Addo government, by simply expressing concerns about the country’s electoral democracy, saying it has failed to deal with corruption, lawlessness and impunity.
According to him, though Ghana, has been able to achieve electoral democracy, it has been unable to translate that into combatting and containing corruption.
Mr Rawlings argued that a good system of democracy, should be able to contain corruption, stating that while a lack of democracy is usually associated with tyranny and corruption, Ghana, has been able to achieve electoral democracy without its associated reward of the containment of corruption.
“We can judge the quality of democracy by the extent to which it is able to bring on board the participation, the strength, the defiance, the goodwill and the discipline of the people to contain corruption,” the former President, said when the National Chief Imam, Sheikh NuhuS harabutu, paid a courtesy call on him last week, Thursday.
Flt Lt Rawlings, sought the Chief Imam’s support through serious prayers for a good culture of democracy that has the capacity to contain corruption. He said, changes in political leadership through the ballot box, has been qualified as good democracy, though it has failed to contain corruption.
Speaking through one of his aides, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, said the visit was part of the celebration of his centenary which fell on April 23 this year.
He said the celebration would not be complete without a special visit and a special word of gratitude to the former President for his role in formalizing Muslim leadership in Ghana and instituting Muslim national holidays during his tenure as Head of State.
“It is on record that your regime institutionalized the office of the National Chief Imam, that has resulted in the intra and inter religious stability in the country. There’s no doubt that the Chief Imam occupies a powerful page in the history of religious tolerance in this country. That could not have been done without you. Your level of struggle against corruption, injustice, love for the poor, concern for the downtrodden and your stance against injustice are all appreciated. The best time to show this appreciation is the holy period of The Ramadan,” Sheikh Sharabutu stated.
Flt Lt Rawlings, expressed his gratitude for the role the Chief Imam had played “through the trying times that helped to sustain the stability we enjoy, and we continue to pray it stays that way.”
The former President, noted that, while the visit and the kind words from the Chief Imam, “does him great honour, I am not too sure I deserve so much. Some of the deeds come to us through the Almighty, so it is something we should thank Him for.”
He said, the formalization of the office of the National Chief Imam and the establishing of Muslim holidays, were long overdue at the time they happened. “God did not create human beings to be subservient to one another.”
The former President, used the occasion to remind the world that there is serious injustice against the Palestinian people. He said the world was not crying out loud enough or coming out to condemn what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians.
Mr Rawlings said while the world is supposed to be improving as far as freedom and justice was concerned, the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians continues to undermine international efforts towards freedom and justice.
“It is undermining America’s political standing and morality. We’ve been too silent for too long. No amount of condemnation, spoken in words could adequately give any satisfaction to the spirit, to the soul. The condemnation of what is going on has to continue. It appears the American people will now have to wake up the way they did in defence of Mandela. The way they did to get rid of apartheid. Looking up to the presidency, the government or congress doesn’t seem to be doing much.”
“The plight of the Palestinians has always been part of the African Union’s struggle, so was Apartheid South Africa, but today she is fine. Why have we neglected Palestine? Why don’t we see the issue of the Palestinian plight with hundreds killed and injured and thousands crippled? If something like this wasn’t going on, Saudi Arabia of all countries would not have had the effrontery to treat the Yemenis the way they have done,” the former President stated.
Flt Lt Rawlings called on Sheikh Sharabutu, to use the period of his anniversary and Ramadan to send a message that this kind of persecution has to stop.
He said, “The persecution of Shiites by the Sunnis must also come to an end. The attempt to wage war against Iran stems from this. It is wrong. If there’s any persecution of Sunnis by Shiites, that must also be contained,” he said.
Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, was accompanied by Chief Abdul Kadir Tahir, Dagomba Chief of Accra, Abdul Latif Abdulsalam, Marzuk Azindo, Mulhemina Sharabutu, Khuzaima Osman, Abubakar Sharabutu, Mall Dan-Alfa, Mubashir Tahir, Alhaji Rashid Ibrahim and Alhaji Masaud Abubakar.
Also present were; Dr. Anthony Dzegede, Dr. Donald Agumenu and Mr. Kobina Andoh all from the office of former President Rawlings.
Ex-President Rawlings, condemned the brutal assault on a police man at Amasaman a few days ago, stating that to assault a man in uniform in such a manner is an indictment on our society and totally unjustifiable.
“It is painful the extent to which a policeman was badly beaten to the point that you could hardly see his eyes. What could have justified that? What stopped us from literally arresting him if the situation warranted it and leading him to a police station?
“To disrespect a lawman and to even go as far as to assault him to the extent that was done was going too far,” the former President said, and asked the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu to pray against such impunity and lawlessness.
He said, “No one is perfect and I know the burden that the police generally carry. Things are tough and they carry a heavy burden. The means to do their work effectively is inadequate and they are doing their best. Assuming 30 per cent of the police were to decide not to put in their best, can you imagine the confusion we will have? Let’s imagine a situation without the police; we will be much worse. It could be an uncontrollable situation.”
Former President Rawlings called on the National Chief Imam to pray against such lawless impunity. He said, “no amount of temptation and difficulty should push us to go as far as we went in the Ashaiman (sic) incident.”
Acknowledging the fact that there is a lot of stress, pain and difficulty in society currently, the former President said that is still no reason to take it out on a police man.
Sgt. Mahanadi of the police SWAT unit was assaulted at Amasaman a few days ago with the video going viral on social media platforms. It is still unclear what necessitated the action.
Former President Rawlings also spoke about the danger to our environment through human greed and abuse and disclosed that a recent United Nations report had exposed the fact that one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
He said our children and grandchildren will be the ones who would suffer the most from the kind of greed and neglect that caused damage to the environment. He said undoing the damage cannot be done overnight and called on all humanity to wake up to the reality.
The former President urged Sheikh Sharabutu to pray “for us to contain our excesses and our greed and to scale down our material desires”.
Member of Parliament (MP) for KlotteyKorle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, who was also at the meeting, thanked the National Chief Imam for the role he had played in keeping the peace between various religions in Ghana.
She also commended her father, former President Rawlings, for allowing himself to be used as an instrument to institutionalize the office of the Chief Imam and the establishment of Muslim national holidays.
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings, said the peace we are enjoying now is not by accident and called on the Chief Imam to dedicate his Ramadan prayers to peace and justice in Ghana so that the foundation that has been built can stand the test of time. She wished Sheikh Sharabutu a happy centenary and prayed for many more years as Allah wills for the Ima
Reverend Akua Buabema Ofori-Boateng of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, offered an inspirational prayer for peace and unity for Ghana. She also prayed for good health and long life for the National Chief Imam and former President Rawlings.