On Wednesday morning, this nation was hit with some very sad news— news of the demise of the first democratic President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, and founder of the National Democratic Congress, one of the two largest political parties we have in this nation.
May his soul rest in peace.
I also want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the entire Perez Family, to express my deepest condolences to our former First Lady, Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children, the nation, and the NDC party, which he founded.
On the occasions that I met and talked with Mr Rawlings, it was clear that he loved this nation dearly; and, looking back, I can say we’ve lost a very great icon.
(Let us observe a minute’s silence in honour of our departed former President)
Today, I want to officially welcome Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang into our midst.
Even before she became running mate to the NDC’s flag bearer, I had had some interesting interactions with her by virtue of my serving on various educational councils, including that of Perez University College. In fact, with the exception of one, all the rectors we have had at the Perez University College have come from the University of Cape Coast of which she was once a Vice-Chancellor. One of our senior pastors who also lectures at Cape-Vars worked with her in the same department.
Prof, I have followed you briefly from the time you were chosen as the running mate of the NDC and how you have conducted yourself and your campaign. I have not heard you or read reports of you using insulting or abusive language on your political opponents, and this is worthy of commendation. Thank you for that exemplary conduct. Being a Christian and a member of the Methodist Church, the conduct you have exhibited is very refreshing, so do keep it up.
Let me say that, as a man of God, just as I’ve commended you for what I see you doing well, the day you or your political party—whether while in opposition or while in government—fail to do what is right, expect that I will likewise speak out and not be silent. I hope that if it happens “attack dogs” from your party will not be unleashed against me! Of course, in the unlikely event that it does happen, I will not be silenced.
In the next few days ahead of us, we will be going to the polls to elect our leaders who will lead the nation for the next four years. It is unfortunate that every election season in this nation has been characterised by so much tension and threats of violence. Since 1992, this has been the unfortunate cycle we have had to endure as citizens of this great nation.
Let me take this opportunity, once again, to admonish our politicians, especially from the two main political parties, the NPP and the NDC, that this year’s elections should not unleash violence on us. The political parties should not let loose, thugs and vigilante groups on the ordinary people. Let us experience a high level of civility on the 7th of December and beyond.
I hope and pray that the security agencies and the Electoral Commission would do a very professional and impartial job. They must not favour or support any one particular political party against the other. Unfortunately, this has been a major cause of political violence in other jurisdictions.
I want to make a passionate appeal to the journalists, that they should learn lessons from history; history has taught us that some nations have gone to war, some have had civil war and tribal fights; families have been divided, and innocent lives have been destroyed all due to careless reporting of some journalists.
When you choose the path of your personal interests and sensationalism, you may end up famous and rich. However, the lives and families you would have ended up destroying may be too great to repair. I ask you, one day when you are old, will you be proud of yourselves or rather be full of regrets for your role in the outcome of our elections and the damage you would have caused to your fellow countrymen?
This election season, I urge journalists to serve the people with a pure conscience. Report the truth and nothing but the truth, not with a coloured lens due to your party affiliations.
More importantly, we expect our politicians and their supporters to aim for peace. Make the peace of this nation your topmost priority, as is mentioned in Heb 12:14: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”.
Let me be quick to add that the judiciary should continually put this nation’s interests ahead of any person’s or group’s.
The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines democracy as a government by the people, one in which “the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.” That means every single citizen of Ghana has a say in what our government would look like. As citizens we must all be committed to vote on 7th December without creating any problem at the polling station. Remember that if you do not vote, then you have no right to discuss the policies of any government. Don’t forget the outcome of elections will affect you, whether you’re interested in politics or not.
It is said that not voting is effectively casting a vote for the opponent you least agree with. If you feel like you’re just one person whose vote doesn’t matter, remember that every vote counts. In fact, yours might be the one to determine the future of this great country.
As Christians, we will continue in our God-given mandate in praying for the leaders of this nation, from the President to the opposition, the legislature, judiciary, security services, and the entire country.
God bless our homeland Ghana.