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Address by HE John Dramani Mahama at the 31st December Revolution anniversary- Ho/ VR

HE President Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana and Founder of our great NDC party. Because of protocol and time, let me simply say, Comrades and Friends.

I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to be here with you this afternoon. And before I start, let me say fe yeye nami kataa (Happy New Year).

The existence of our party, the NDC, is deeply rooted in two historic events in Ghana, as you’ve been told by the General Secretary, the June 4 uprising and the 31st December Revolution.

Our party is in existence because of the occurrence of these two dramatic events, which changed the course of Ghana’s history. Ghana has never been the same again since June 4 and 31st December. Unfortunately, many of our young people are not familiar with the history of these events and what caused them.

That is why when we commemorate occasions like this, it gives us the opportunity to recount some of the things that happened and led to the events of June 4 and 31st December for the benefit of our young people who did not live that period in our country’s history.

Ladies and gentlemen, just briefly; at the time these two events happened Ghana’s economy was in the doldrums. Ghana went through some of the worst suffering that we have ever gone through as a country and indeed we became the butt of jokes among our neighbours.

There is the often-told story about a quiz master in Nigeria, which was enjoying an oil boom, who during a quiz posed a question: In which country in West Africa do they queue for toilet paper? ��That is how far down Ghana had gotten. Of course, the participant answered correctly that it is Ghana, and the quiz master said, “correct for 5 points.”

Indeed, at the time, our economy was contracting. When we talk about economic growth, it is either positive or negative. Your economy can be growing positively or growing negatively. At this time in Ghana’s history, our economy was growing negatively. This meant that instead of the economy expanding, it was contracting and becoming smaller.

Aside from that, we suffered a brain drain. Most of our qualified people began to leave the country. Teachers and doctors and nurses and anybody with any professional skill drifted from Ghana to Nigeria. What made things worse was that in 1983, we had a severe drought that affected agriculture- there was no food.

You heard Comrade Nuamah Donkor tell you they had to go and queue for un-boiled kenkey. People could not wait for the kenkey seller to boil the kenkey, so you queue and when she is done wrapping it, you take the kenkey home and boil it yourself. That is how bad things became. ��Our women left the shores to either go and trade in material goods or in biological goods. In 1983, Nigeria deported one million of our colleagues to come back home.

The new government that had come in – it was a young government at the time – rose to the task, accepted our colleagues back, settled them and began the task of rebuilding the economy and the rebuilding the nation.

Today, a lot of things that we take for granted are the result of the work that was done in that period of the PNDC. The PNDC ushered Ghana into a new era of stability and we have enjoyed political stability since then. Those are some of the dividends that we are reaping in today’s Ghana.

PNDC began a strong infrastructural development, repairing the roads, extending the telecommunication network, providing water and electricity to our people. The PNDC bequeathed unto us the current local government system that we are operating successfully.

So, when we talk about these things, and we commemorate events like this, we do so that the younger people will know from where we have come. This is because your future cannot be guaranteed if you do not remember your past.

You can only go forward if you know where you are coming from. If you lose orientation of where you are coming from, then it makes it difficult for you to forge ahead.

Probably one of the most intangible benefits – because it’s not something you can see like water or electricity or roads, but most significant, more than any other thing the PNDC did – was the values that it left us. The values of Probity and Accountability.

I daresay that in the events of June 4 and 31st December, the highest and ultimate price was taken for some people. Some lost their lives, others lay down their lives, in order to ensure the values of Probity and Accountability. As a result of that, when the 1992 Constitution was written, Probity and Accountability were inserted in the Directive Principles of State Policy as a value that Ghana must continue to pursue.

There are differences in the fight for probity and accountability in a revolutionary era and in a democratic era. In the democratic era, you have the laws, you have the Constitution and many others that make the wheels of justice grind slowl

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