Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is an honour to join you here in Ho to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the 31st December Revolution.
It is also heartwarming to note that sympathisers of the ideals of June 4, 1979 and 31st December 1981 have travelled from across the country to commemorate the revolution and give meaning to the theme “Uniting Around the Principles of Probity, Accountability and Social Justice.”
Togbui oo, Mama oo, ladies and gentlemen, events such as today’s are meant to remember and affirm our deep-rooted association with a momentous period in Ghana’s history when patriotic men and women of this country took a bold step to confront a state of decline that had led the international community to write Ghana off as a failed state.
Ghana’s position as a pacesetter on the African continent and a global beacon of hope had evaporated following a series of political misadventures that had crippled our economy and left the people in a state of hopelessness.
The records are there for our young ones to study and appreciate but the history writers have always thought it convenient to distort the facts to suit their elitist and so-called highly educated leanings. So the June 4 uprising and the 31st December revolution which were borne out of a state of uncontrolled corruption, wretchedness and gloom has oft been described as a coup d’état by a group of characters who ought to know better. – a great affront to the millions of Ghanaians who rose in unison to denounce the monopoly of a select few who thought the right to rule was their birthright.
The same group of people and their puppets oversaw an economy that retrogressively provided limited opportunities for an increasing population. The price of goods and services were escalating in an unprecedented manner by 1981. The economic indicators were all negative at the time.
For those who have forgotten and have a veneer obscuring their view, corruption had its own local terminology, Kalabule. In 1982 at the advent of the revolution, Ghanaians had to queue for essential commodities such as bread and maize in order to make ends meet. This did not break down the resolve of the people. The young and able-bodied ones, mostly drawn from the universities travelled to the hinterlands to help cart cocoa onto trucks and trains to the ports for export. The desire to die for mother Ghana was the driving force behind the revolution. It was a re-birth of the spirit of patriotism – the love of one’s country.
The economy recovered significantly over the ten-year period from 1982 to 1992 when we established constitutional rule after a decade of grassroots democracy never before experienced in the country. The Economic Recovery Programme, the Structural Adjustment Programme, the Financial Adjustment Programme and the introduction of the Value Added Tax were tough but bold decisions taken to tighten our belts while offering the country the much-needed turnaround in economic and infrastructural development.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is important that we do not forget and indeed we cannot forget the progress this country made under the PNDC and subsequently the first NDC government that offered Ghana a great new lift off for economic development. For those who have today turned the clock of progress around and allowed kalabule to confidently walk back into the soul of the country, history has to be re-told because their arrogance and indifference has almost brought the country to its knees. Under the guise of a capitalist property-owning democracy we have gradually re-institutionalized corruption and allowed a select few to monopolise resources and by virtue of that become political kingmakers who dictate even the choice of constituency party executives.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have sunk so low as a country and we have betrayed the blood of all those who laid down their lives to stem the stinking tide of corruption that had engulfed Ghana over 30 years ago. The sacrifices many dedicated men and women endured to give our party life and succour has been abused and trampled upon by some in a manner even the elephant will be envious of.
Today many perceive politics as being synonymous with acquiring wealth at a fraudulently rapid pace and has nothing to do with service to country. Politics to some is no longer about the right of every individual to have a say in national decision-making through the District Assemblies and other grassroots political structures that were created to enhance equity and create a national wealth of ideas and sense of belonging. Today our politics is one of patronage and dependence on cash cows. Some people have used the leadership opportunities offered them to acquire ill-gotten wealth, which they now use to manipulate us.