Former President John Dramani Mahama has said freedom of thought and expression should be encouraged in the country rather than a culture of hypocrisy and silence.
In a statement to mark the 42anniversary of the June 4 uprising yesterday, he said : “If we must get our people to hope again and to trust in our institutions and government, then we must encourage “fearless honesty” as enjoined by our national anthem.
“We must embrace and be guided by truth, transparency, probity and accountability – principles that have been bequeathed unto us, which are the bedrock upon which our nation, undoubtedly, will become great, strong, resilient and prosperous”.
On June 4, 1979, members of the military, drawn mostly from the junior ranks and inspired by mass social and public discontent, took over the governance of the country after it had sunk into a state of social, economic and political decay.
The Late Former President, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings who was broken out of jail on the eve of that day while standing trail for an earlier failed coup attempt, and became the hero of the uprising, has since celebrated the principles of truth, transparency, probity and accountability which guided the incident, with public event including a lecture and a rally where he delivered strong and unapologetic addresses which Ghanaians christened as “boom” speeches.
For the first time, comrades, supporters and sympathizers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) commemorated June 4 Uprising without the physical presence of the former President and Founder of the NDC , who passed on last year.
Statesman, Sir Sam Jonah, stirred controversy in April while delivering a public lecture in Accra where he remarked that a culture of silence was slowly creeping into the country through convenience, hypocrisy and parochialism and that citizens were afraid to speak the truth because of partisan polarisation.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has Saturday parried the assertion, stating that his government had protected freedom of expression.
Former President Mahama’s June 4 statement described Former President Rawlings as a key influence on Ghana’s history for the two decades straddling the late 70s till year 2000 and the uprising as an epochal event that represented a major landmark in the nation’s existence.
“The values June 4 espoused some four decades ago, remain as relevant today as ever before in our nation’s democratic journey. June 4 engendered hope in our people that the ills of our society would be rooted out and replaced with values of virtue and honesty”, it said.
It said the together with its sister event, the 31st December Revolution, the two shaped the course of Ghana’s history resulting in a turnaround in Ghana’s economic fortunes and the advent of the 4th Republic.
“Forty-two years on, our economy and democracy are in dire straits. Economic hardship, insecurity, political and ethnic polarization, deepening inequality, politicization of our democratic institutions, corruption, serious problems in the education and health sectors are challenges Ghanaians are confronted with in our daily lives. This has led to a crisis of confidence in the political leadership”, it said.
The statement said Ghana was a country with exceptional human talent and although time was ticking fast, the country could make things right citizenry worked as one nation with a common destiny.
It said a broad consultations that bring the best and brightest together with stakeholders could forge consensus around issues such as economic recovery strategy, or implementational challenges of Free SHS in the national interest.
“As I have said in the past, broad consultations and consensus building does not take anything away from a leader” it said.