Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday eulogised the late former President Jerry John Rawlings, calling for people to continue his peace building legacy in the country and across the African continent.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the ex-President was a true son of Africa and a peace builder in Africa, and noted that “Ghana, under his leadership, was the first African country to move into Liberia to stop the carnage during the civil war.
“Then to Sierra Leone and Guinea with its own resources before the international community later came in with support,” he stated last Friday on the Floor of the House.
According to him, under the leadership of the late former President Rawlings, Ghana was in Rwanda during the genocide and remained there even at a time the international community, including the United Nations, withdrew their personnel, “all in a quest to save lives.”
“Today, Ghana is the oasis of peace in a troubled West African sub-region. Our democracy continues to chalk up successes year in year out, making us the beacon of hope for constitutional rule on the African continent,” the Tamale South MP indicated.
He said the credit for “this rare length of political peace and stability with concomitant economic growth goes to the extensive and all-inclusive consultations Rawlings fostered through the tireless work of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD).
“As faith has it, the NCD was then chaired by the venerable and indefatigable Justice Daniel Francis Annan, who subsequently became the first Speaker of this august House under the Fourth Republic.”
For him, to this unrivalled legacy of Rawlings, “the epitaph in Latin to Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of the world-famous St. Paul’s Cathedral that adorns the skyline of Central London, would be applicable, as far as Rawlings has been credited for giving strength and validity to the so-called African “Constitutional Revival” starting from the 1990s.
He quoted Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), as having written in 2007 and cited Mr. Rawlings’ handover of power after his second term as leading the way for the institutionalization of the presidential term-limit in Africa, with Kenya’s Daniel Arap Moi, Zambia’s Frederick Chiluba and Malawi’s Bakili Muluzi immediately following in line.
The MP of Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey, said the confluence of ex-President Rawlings and President Akufo-Addo, who were initially having opposing views on governance, should tell Ghanaians that political opponents are not enemies.
“Mr. Speaker, it teaches that we may not agree with each other, but we must not be enemies. It teaches that we must tell our supporters that after talking in this Chamber we go and drink tea at the bar,” he stated.
“The beautiful thing is that we argue here but after that we meet at the tea place (referring to the Coffee Shop in Parliament) and have a chart. They must learn from our leaders, ex-President Rawlings and President Akufo-Addo, and from us (MPs), that we don’t hate each other,” he asserted.
He continued, “Mr. Speaker, that is the beauty of life and that is the maturity exhibited here and that is the maturity of our democracy that people who disagreed with each other for close to 13 years, ended up becoming friends.”
According to him, all the people who occupy the high office of President must do well to cloth it with some decorum.
There were other speakers from both sides of the House who had kind words for the late ex-President.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House