Rawlings says Africa deserves better from leaders

Jerry Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings says Africa “deserves better from its own leadership and we cannot fail them.”

Speaking at a colloquium organised by the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja to mark 50 years of African Independence on Saturday, former President Rawlings said post-independence Africa had encountered challenging periods that had shaken the very foundations of the continent’s political, social and economic sovereignty.

“But while the political landscape on the continent may seem quite stable now, we still have not brought along the civility, integrity and democratic practices that are unique to our culture into the adopted governance of state,” President Rawlings said in a statement issued by his office in Accra.

He noted: “We have simply adopted a Western form of democracy, applying it in a superficial and intimidating manner, when the infusion of our cultural practices could have given it so much substance, integrity and authority without the need for some of the coercive and intimidating practices.”

Former President Rawlings called for an appreciation of the truth and spirituality in our culture and how that could impact positively on the political sphere.

He said the continent could not afford to stay in a time warp and allow some elected leaders to become autocratic and tend to abuse the people’s freedoms through intimidation and corruption and later attempt to stay in power even when they have lost the mandate of the people.

Turning to members of the ECOWAS Parliament, the former President challenged Africans to use their various national parliaments to hold the incumbent executive in check.

“Why can we not use the legislature to prevent such ills while in office? Do we not have the power to demand investigations into the wrongs perpetrated by some of us in power?

“Some of the most heinous crimes call for impeachment. We think about it, we whisper about it and let it go. How then can we exercise the checks and balances? Wherein lies our power if we cannot check such excesses? So we wait till we are thrown out of office before we see justice sometimes being applied. Our failure to take the moral high ground and check these political aberrations by the executive gives fertile ground for preventable distractions in our political development.”

Former President Rawlings said it was not uncommon for some Parliaments to refuse to ratify protocols that had been approved at the highest level of ECOWAS.

He said some parliaments spent their time endorsing government policies whether they were good or bad.

“It is very easy to raise all the accusing fingers at the executive, but why would some in the executive not run wild if some in the legislature, the judiciary and even the media are compromised through petty political biases?” the former president said.

Source: GNA

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