Address by the President of Ghana on his victory at major judcial challenge to his election
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Address by the President of Ghana on his victory at major judcial challenge to his election Document Transcript

  • 1.   1       ADDRESS  TO  THE  NATION           BY  HIS  EXCELLENCY  JOHN  DRAMANI  MAHAMA           PRESIDENT  OF  THE  REPUBLIC  OF  GHANA           AND             COMMANDER-­‐IN-­‐CHIEF  OF  THE  GHANA  ARMED  FORCES           FLAGSTAFF  HOUSE,  ACCRA         THURSDAY,  29TH    AUGUST,  2013      
  • 2.   2     My  fellow  citizens;  My  brothers  and  sisters.   Good  evening.   History  defines  us.    It  determines  who  we  are-­‐  as  individuals,  as  families  and   communities,  and  as  a  nation.   Whenever  I  watch  images  of  our  past,  it  is  clear  to  me  that  it  is  our  shared  history   that  has  guided  us  through  our  most  critical  periods.    It  has  defined,  and  continues   to  define  our  mission  as  a  nation.   In  our  56  years  of  independence,  throughout  the  times  of  celebration  and  the   times  of  sorrow;  throughout  the  times  of  frustration  and  the  times  of  joy,  the   heart  and  soul  of  our  mission  as  a  nation  has  remained  steadfast:  to  create  a  free   and  just  society  for  our  citizens,  to  create  a  Ghana  that  we  can  be  proud  to  hand   down  to  our  children  and  grandchildren  and  all  future  generations.   Ghana  exists  today  not  by  accident  but  by  providence.   We  exist  today  because  of  the  vision,  hard  work  and  sheer  determination  of  our   foremothers  and  forefathers.    They  built  the  institutions  of  our  government  and   designed  our  very  democracy  with  our  nation’s  future  in  mind.   This  country,  our  country,  has  always  been  fuelled  by  patriotism.   It  is  a  patriotism  that  is  visible  all  around  us:  as  we  rally  together  at  football   matches,  as  we  join  hands  at  the  funerals  of  loved  ones,  as  we  support  each   other—even  strangers—in  times  of  emergency  and  disaster.   It  is  a  patriotism  that  is  also  expressed  in  our  everyday  lives:    in  the  respect  we   show  for  one  another’s  differences  of  opinion  and  religious  beliefs,  in  the   tolerance  we  display  for  the  different  political  persuasions,  ethnic  and  cultural   traditions.    Indeed,  Ghana  is  known  the  world  over  for  the  richness  of  our  diversity   and  our  harmonious  embrace  of  it.  
  • 3.   3     We  have  always  held  fast  to  the  fact  that  we  are,  first  and  foremost,  Ghanaians— with  an  abiding  love  of  country.   We  have  always  held  firm  to  our  conviction  that  Ghana  will  work,  that  Ghana  must   work.   My  fellow  citizens;  My  brothers  and  sisters,   History  has  shown  that  Ghanaians  have  always  possessed  a  distinct  political   maturity,  one  that  has  promoted  stability  in  our  own  country,  and  has  inspired  it  in   other  countries  on  this  continent  and,  even,  throughout  the  developing  world.   “We  are  going  to  demonstrate  to  the  world,  to  other  nations,”  Dr.  Kwame   Nkrumah,  our  founding  father  and  member  of  the  Big  Six,  declared  at  the  dawn  of   our  independence,  “that  we  are  prepared  to  lay  our  own  foundation.    Our  own   African  identity.”   Since  our  rejection  of  colonial  rule,  Ghana  has  endeavoured  to  shape  a  system  of   governance  that  would  be  suitable  for  self-­‐rule,  a  system  of  governance  that   would  reflect  our  particular  history,  our  particular  African  cultural  inheritance,  and   our  particular  union  of  African  peoples.   Today  is  an  important  moment  in  the  life  of  our  nation.    Over  the  course  of  the   past  eight  months,  we  have  witnessed  the  evolution  of  the  democratic  process   this  nation  utilizes  to  fulfil  our  mission  of  creating  a  free  and  just  society.   Dr.  J.B.  Danquah,  another  member  of  the  Big  Six,  once  said,  “The  freedom  to   express  an  opinion,  and  to  act  in  terms  of  that  opinion,  is  not  an  abuse  of  power  in   a  democracy.  […]Free  exercise  of  opinion  on  a  political  issue  is  the  maximum   expression  of  liberty  and  is  never  an  abuse  of  power.”   The  political  maturity  with  which  we  have  received  the  verdict  announced  today   by  the  Supreme  Court  coupled  with  our  ever-­‐present  patriotism  will  ensure  that   Ghana  is  the  ultimate  winner,  not  any  one  individual  or  political  party.  
  • 4.   4     Victory  must  always  speak  to  the  success  of  our  nation.   Victory  must  always  be  for  the  people  of  Ghana.   The  challenge  that  was  issued  to  the  Supreme  Court,  and  the  discussions,  debates   and  even  disagreements  that  it  has  inspired  can  only  strengthen  our  institutions.     In  a  democracy,  fair,  compassionate  and  decisive  leadership  must  operate  within  a   framework  that  is  fully  functional.    Strong  institutions  are  the  bedrock  of  strong   nations.   We  must  allow  this  exercise,  this  experience,  to  move  us  forward.   If  we  allow  it  to  do  otherwise;  if  we  allow  it  to  be  destructive,  rather  than   constructive,  then  we  would  have  failed  as  a  nation  to  learn  the  lessons  that  were   imparted;  we  would  have  turned  our  backs  on  this  rare  and  critical  opportunity  for   our  nation  and  its  institutions  to  evolve;  we  would  have  allowed  ourselves  to   become  enemies  of  our  own  progress.   My  fellow  citizens;  My  brothers  and  sisters,   Since  becoming  the  first  sub-­‐Saharan  nation  to  gain  its  independence,  Ghana  has   earned  praise  and  respect  in  the  international  community  for  its  leadership  on  the   African  continent.    We  once  again  find  ourselves  in  a  position  to  set  a  standard  for   the  rest  of  Africa,  to  lead  by  practicing  and  perfecting.   For  the  first  time  on  our  continent,  there  are  more  democracies  than   dictatorships,  more  free  and  fair  elections  than  coup  d’etats.    We  must  support   our  African  brothers  and  sisters  who  have  yet  to  enjoy  the  due  process  we  have   seen  today,  and  the  freedoms  we  cherish  here  in  Ghana.    We  must  pursue  a  day   when  democratic  governance  and  independent  judiciaries  are  the  norm  all  across   Africa,  not  the  exception.  
  • 5.   5     It  is  with  the  utmost  respect  and  highest  regard  that  I  commend  the  Supreme   Court  of  Ghana,  on  my  own  behalf  and  on  the  behalf  of  all  Ghanaians,  for  the   dedication,  integrity  and  professionalism  with  which  they  adjudicated  this  case.       We  have  all  been  captivated  by  the  proceedings,  and  it  is  with  awe  that  we  have   watched  the  advancement  of  the  jurisprudence  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Ghana.     We  have  also,  in  the  process,  managed  to  turn  ourselves  into  a  nation  of  pocket   lawyers  and  armchair  judges,  and,  in  typical  Ghanaian  fashion,  let  the  language  of   law  enter  our  daily  vocabulary.     It  is  not  uncommon  now  to  hear  teachers,  professors,  and  senior  citizens  referred   to  as  “my  lord,  my  lord;”  for  taxi  drivers,  contractors  and  seamstresses  to  discuss   “pink  sheets”;  for  farmers,  doctors,  and  market  women  to  make  mention  of   “further  and  better  particulars.”    Even  children  are  now  familiar  with  the  term   “amicus  curiae.”   This  is  yet  another  example  of  the  interest  we  Ghanaians  take  in  issues  of   importance  to  the  betterment  of  our  nation,  of  how  deeply  we  are  willing  to   invest  in  our  self-­‐education  on  these  matters.   Ghana  is  our  home.   We  cannot  afford  to  be  cynical.    We  do  not  have  the  luxury  of  sitting  on  the   sidelines.    We  must  all  work  to  make  Ghana  work.   I  know  that  in  the  last  eight  months,  we  have  had  several  hurdles  to  overcome— issues  of  Governance,  Labour,  Energy,  Economy  and  Education.     I  know,  too,  that  because  the  world  does  not  stand  still  when  a  goal  is  met  or  a   mandate  is  delivered,  over  the  coming  years,  from  time  to  time,  we  will  continue   to  face  our  fair  share  of  challenges.    There  are  various  reforms  that  must  take   place,  and  bold  decisions  that  must  be  made.    I  assure  you  that  I  am  prepared  and   committed  to  make  those  decisions  and  to  ensure  that  those  reforms  are   implemented.    
  • 6.   6     I  would  like  to  thank  my  legal  team  for  the  hard  work  and  long  hours  that  went   into  this  case.    I  would  especially  like  to  thank  them  for  their  unwavering  faith  in   the  rule  of  law  and  their  belief  that  in  the  end,  come  what  may,  justice  would  be   served.   I  thank  the  media  for  their  diligence,  for  constantly  striving  to  meet  their  own   ideal  of  accurate  and  responsible  reporting  and,  not  least  of  all,  for  holding   government  accountable  for  the  promises  that  we  have  made,  promises  that,   despite  the  hurdles  and  setbacks  that  were  faced,  we  have  begun  to  deliver  and   will  continue  working  to  deliver.   Most  of  all,  I  want  to  express  my  gratitude  and  appreciation  to  the  good  people  of   Ghana  for  your  patience,  especially  through  the  stretches  of  darkness  and   uncertainty.    The  days  ahead  of  us  will  be  brighter,  and  the  opportunities  for   prosperity  will  be  many.   My  fellow  citizens;  My  brothers  and  sisters,   This  afternoon  Nana  Akufo-­‐Addo  and  I  had  a  conversation,  and  I  am  assured  that   with  this  court  case  over  and  the  verdict  announced,  we  can  now,  all  of  us,  put   this  behind  us  and  turn  our  full  attention  back  to  building  this  great  nation.       This  government  is  ready  to  work  for  you,  for  all  Ghanaians.   It  is  my  expectation  that  all  Ghanaians  are  also  prepared  to  work  to  uplift  our   nation,  because  Ghana  must  succeed.   And  if,  together,  we  face  whatever  challenges  come  our  way,  our  systems  and  our   institutions  will  continue  to  be  strengthened;  our  democracy  will  continue  to   grow,  and  our  homeland,  Ghana,  will  succeed.      May  God  bless  you.   And  may  God  continue  to  bless  this  beloved  nation  of  ours.