Rawlings Praised for Championing Democracy

A member of the United States House of Representatives has commended former President Jerry Rawlings for championing a new kind of democracy in Ghana. During a courtesy call on the ex-President at his Ridge residence Tuesday, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee told President Rawlings; “I can confidently say you are the father of democracy. “You have turned the coin on how you handle democracy, on how you define democracy, your own African democracy and we should never forget that,” she said. Congresswoman Jackson-Lee who is part of a seven-member Congressional delegation on a trade and investment promotion tour to Ghana, Liberia, Angola and South Africa said she had always been inspired by Kwame Nkrumah as a student because she studied in Ghana, noting however that Ghanaians should be indebted to ex-President Rawlings for the kind of democracy in the country. Mrs Jackson-Lee said she was excited to be in Ghana as part of a delegation that is here to encourage trade in place of aid, saying the idea is to promote trade in a responsible manner. On the economy, Congresswoman Jackson-Lee noted that the NDC government “had come in with a deep challenge with respect to the economy” and was interested in thoughts that the former President wanted her to convey back to Congress. Ex-President Rawlings thanked the Congresswoman and all others who were at the frontline in recognising the potential of Barack Obama and supporting him at each stage. He pointed out however that whilst some in America may want a "trade and not aid" approach, this was not feasible. Former President Rawlings stressed that Africa needed a balance, which saw the adoption of both trade and aid. The legacy and history of Africa cannot be expunged as a whim and Africa needed a win win situation, which included a continuation and better management of aid. “I have never minced my words about the new political morality it brings onto the global scene after the damage caused during the Bush-Blair era. We suffered even more in Africa. Some countries in South America were able to rescue themselves,” the former President said. The former president said Ghana’s democratic advancement was achieved through a certain level of patriotism on the part of those who steered the affairs of the country during the difficult years of the revolution. He said many did not understand the process and assumed he was politicking when he was doing his bit to help his country as a patriot. Former President Rawlings commended Nigerian President Umaru Y’Ardua for helping to steer the course of the democracy in Ghana in 2008 by sending senior emissaries to Ghana to caution the Kufuor government to desist from upsetting the cart of change when it was obvious the NPP was losing the election. “He sent a senior General to Ghana to warn Kufuor and that is what saved the day at a time when the Western powers were looking on and by their inaction supporting the NPP in their brazen attempt to usurp the people’s power,” Rawlings said. The former President said the United States will need to support Ghana’s drive to eradicate the drug trade, stating that the practice had entrenched itself in Ghana because in the recent past politicians had allowed themselves to be financed by drug barons, allowing the trade to fester. Congresswoman Jackson-Lee is a member of Congressional Committees on Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and the Judiciary. She chairs the Congressional Sub-Committee on Transportation, Security and Infrastructure Protection. Other members of the visiting Congressional delegation are Bobby Rush (Head of Delegation), G.K. Butterfield, Steve Cohen, William Lacy Clay, Gwen Moore and Emmanuel Cleaver. The delegation represents various influential committees including Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology, Ways and Means, Homeland Security, Independence and Global Warming and Oversight and Government Reform.