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An Open Letter To Ex-President Rawlings   
 
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06-Jun-2011  
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On the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of June Fourth, I am writing to congratulate you, the government and people of Ghana and all cadres of the revolution for bringing Ghana this far. I am also writing to remind you of and share some ideas on the goals we set for ourselves at the initiation of the revolution.

I am an old cadre of the revolution who worked with you for many years. I had the chance to talk with you and to observe you on several occasions so I came to learn and know, at first hand, what the goal of the June Fourth and the 31s December revolution was. The goal was to build a Ghanaian society that was to ensure the full participation of all people and leads to the achievement and safeguarding of the aspirations of all the people.

Recent pronouncements from you and development in the NDC show that you have become very concern about the direction of not only the party you founded but by the direction of the revolutionary process in general. I am writing this letter to you to assure you that the system is well on its way to achieve the stated goal despite the periodic resistances and shocks and you need not to be overly alarm to take panic measures that may not go down well with you in history. In the beginning, we came to the conclusion that any successful revolution will have to take place in stages. Each stage was to have a specific goal and programs and that not all programs or leaders are required in all stages of the revolution – what may be necessary in the first stage of the revolution may be anathema in a later stage.

In our case, we determined that June 4th and the subsequent 31st December uprisings were to launch a platform for the eventual empowerment of the masses of Ghana to take control of the administration of their country. It needed to start at a stage where the suppressive umbrella of the then state apparatus was to be forcefully removed and prevented by all means possible from interfering in the gradual development of the political consciousness of the masses. This was to allow the creation of the necessary physical and psychological atmospheres for the political empowerment of the people. By the personality you had developed during the May 15th trial and June Fourth, you were to be the leader and rallying point for the mobilization of the masses.

This stage called for

1. The establishment of grass root organizations and the recruitment and training of grass root leadership in the form peoples and workers defense committee (PDC/WDC and CDRs)

2. Corruption was to be rooted out and corrupt people were to be punished as examples to prevent re-occurrence of similar practices

The first stage gave way to the second state when excesses by the revolutionary cadres manifested themselves in over zealousness that lead to the June 21st attempted coups. PDCs and WDC were change to Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to de-emphasized the parochial interest of a section of the cadre force and gear their consciousness towards the goals of the whole revolution.

The goal of the second stage was to consolidate the gains so far and to broaden the base of participation in political administration. There was the need for an army of conscious well skilled managers of the system to ensure the efficient development of the process. This was to involve all levels of capable personnel who will accept and work towards the goals of the revolution. Owing to the fact that the revolution had not trained its own cadres with management skills, some people who were not needed in the first stage of the revolution were allowed to come in because they possessed the skill and understanding needed for this stage. District Assemblies and unit committees were formed to decentralize the state apparatus and to put the government at the door step of the people in a democratic way to ensure accountability. Ordinary community leaders no matter their political orientation were recruited into the process sometimes in opposition to sections of the revolutionary cadre force.

The third stage was to build structures that will initiate a democratic process. The aim was to ensure the full participation of the people and accountability at the national level and to act as the bulwarks to prevent the resurfacing of corruption and de-empowerment of the people.

The objectives of this stage were to:

1. Initiate the freedom of the press

2. Allow the development of political movement with the aim of allowing people who were disenfranchised by the first stages of the revolution to be participate in the process

3. To allow criticism of the progress of the revolution to enrich the process

4. To start a dialogue with the opposition and their participation in national development as means toward a national consensus and reconciliation , whiles safeguarding the gains of the revolution by strengthening the structures of people’s power

The fourth stage was to lead to a constitutional democratic political environment that will ensure the rule of law, parliamentary multi-party democracy, good governance that will ensure the welfare of the people, full participation of all sectors of the nation in governance and most importantly the assurance of the power of the masses through an Nkrumah/Rawlings oriented political party.

Unless I am mistaken, we have been able to achieve a large proportion of our goals. You particularly deserve praises for leading the revolution through to this stage. But we all agreed that the last stage was to ensure the development of a system where there will be the full participation of the masses in all sectors of the governance whiles ensuring the participation and development of the middle and upper classes of the people needed for national development. We were hoping that, ideally, a political system will emerge that will ensure full national development and will be stable independent of the political party or political leader.

Many good cadres have fallen by the way side because they could not adjust to the changing dynamics of the different stages of the revolution

1. By their impatience with the pace of the revolution. All successful revolutions were kept in constant pace with the development of the consciousness of the people. Anybody or group that considered him or themselves as more revolutionary than the system were swallowed by the system itself or fell by the way side.

2. Disillusionment with the chances of success based on the overwhelming problems faced by a left leaning revolution in a small country in the face of opposition from within and without.

RAWLINGS/NKRUMAHIST TRADITON

From the revolution’s point of view, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and you Jerry John Rawlings are the two most progressive leaders we have had in Ghana since independence. You are both grass root organizers who fought for the right of ordinary people. Most of the people who overwhelmingly supported the revolution and formed the bulk of the NDC are cadres from the Nkrumah tradition. Only few people from the Danquah/Busia tradition sympathized and worked with us. This was because by their class status in the Ghanaian society they were mostly responsible for the situation that engendered the revolution and as a result bore the brunt of the initial and brutal stage of the revolutionary process.

The NDC from the unit committees to the cabinet is made up of people including a large number of CPP members and sympathizers ranging from old party members, cadres of the ideological institute and young pioneers. This includes your former Vice-President and now President Atta Mills and most of the members of the PNDC and cabinet of the NDC during your presidency. Those of us who are exclusive NDC members who don’t have any CPP leanings are those who were not born during the Nkrumah era and who could not vote by 31st December 1981 and were, therefore, not active during the time of General Acheampong and PNP under Liman.

All of these groups of people accepted the aims of the revolution and worked with you throughout all the stages of the revolution. It is our best chance to embrace those whose aims are not aberrant to the goals of the revolution and to try and woo the other willing parties in the Nkrumahist tradition into our fold based on agreed principles. It will, therefore, be very unfortunate if we will start apportioning blames based on former party affiliations. People should be recognized based on their contribution to the process and their submission to group discipline but not necessary their allegiance to you as a person. The revolution demands differences in opinions on programs so long as principles are not compromised.

I must also point out that the Danquah/Busia tradition is an important part of the Ghanaian community and are very much needed in the process. The revolution never sought to permanently dis-enfranchise them. In fact the revolution recognized them as having the same right as any other political tradition to participate in the process if the goals are to be achieved. They form a strong counter force to the Rawlings/Nkrumahist tradition and by their skills and abilities are able to curtail excesses that would have been otherwise associated with pure people’s revolutionary power. The NPP party despite all their shortcomings have played a very important role in rule of law and other actions including criticisms that are needed for consensus building in many aspects of the development of the country and they should be recognized as such.

But elections have consequences. That is why during their time in power, they were vindictive and hostile to the NDC. Any cadre with revolutionary consciousness should have expected that. They will always fight against things that threaten their interests and they have plenty of them that have been curtailed by the people’s power we built. What we need to do is to mobilize the people to be conscious of their aspirations and recognize what will stand the way. So whiles it is okay to probe and correct mistakes and corrupt practices of the NPP era, it will be counter-productive to be excessively vindictive and help propagate the vicious cycle of vendetta that will give them the chance to frustrate the revolutionary process. We are above “YOU DO ME, I DO YOU” and the “ALL DIE BE DIE” mentality.

Sir, your time in executive position is over. The system was set up to move on after you and is supposed to work independent of you as a person and all of us, if is it is to be considered successful. We have not reached the stage where it will be able to work perfectly and no one government in one regime can do all needed things. You of all people should know why because we could not do it when you were in power.

First of all it is impossible to build a perfect system and as a developing country with meager resources, it will be too much to expect a perfect government and perfect implementation of programs if even the programs are perfect. I remind you that parliamentary democracy means consensus building through negotiation whilst fighting for the right thing. There is no way any one particular government can have all its way in a constitutional democracy. You did not in your time so don’t expect President Mills have his. At this stage, there is the need for compromises. It is too idealistic and extreme to think that any one group can win all. What we have to do is to ensure the integrity of the system and keep building on the system to ensure the achievement of the aspiration of the masses and to propel the process to a higher stage. This will need patience, foresight and awareness from everybody particularly the masses of our people. It is particularly important to ensure that the will of the people is enforced through universal suffrage and their involvement in party political system. We cannot be too revolutionary than the process. It did not work for us in the early part of the revolution and it will not work now.

Sir, it is okay and in fact is expected of you to criticize but most importantly advice your successors on issues but it is not okay to make it difficult for them to govern they way they see fit including the right to ignore your advice. You are the founder but not necessary the owner of the party. In life, you cannot have control over your children throughout their life. It will be a mark of the failure of your leadership and the system if your successors cannot stand on their feet and have to depend on you even after you have retired

In this solemn occasion of the June Fourth, I am entreating you to soberly reflect on the struggle we have gone through up till now and our achievement so far. We have done great and history is our witness. Whilst not compromising on principle, we can compromise on programs so long as it is line with the goals and aspirations of the revolution. Therefore, I find it okay for Nana Konadu to participate in the NDC’s primary elections by challenging President Mills. It is an important step in the democratic development of the party, strengthen the party structures and give the people choices. But it will be unacceptable if the campaign process is organized in such a way that it will in the end breed divisions and set the revolution process backward. We have gone through too much and lost too many good people on the way to consciously or unconsciously start exhibiting counter revolutionary activities that will undermine our long term goals.

I salute you and the cadres of the revolution for good work done.

Happy Anniversary and May God Bless you.


 
 
Source: Kwame Yeboah
 
 

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