Ghana’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has declared that it will participate in celebrating the country’s fiftieth independence anniversary, which begins Tuesday. Yesterday’s announcement sharply differs from the view of party founder and former president Jerry Rawlings, who declined an official invitation to be part of the celebration. Rawlings claims it goes against his conscience. But observers have welcomed the party’s decision and say it is good for the unity of the country.
Kwabena Adjei is the chairman of the NDC. He said the party executives were initially skeptical about being part of the celebration.
“At first, we were undecided because of a number of problems. We had complained about our non-involvement in the planning and the execution of the celebration as a way of constituting check on the proper disbursement of the huge twenty million dollar and then the additional donation from business community here in Ghana,” he said.
Adjei said the party drew attention to what he calls injustices against party members.
“Again we drew attention to the various acts of selective justice meted out to our members, including our former president and his wife and other yet to mentioned names who have been lined up to appear before court also on various tramped up charges,” Adjei noted.
He denied the party’s decision to be part of the country’s golden jubilee celebration was in contrast to that of former President Rawlins who has reportedly declined to have anything to do with the celebration.
“I think that many people do not know who Jerry John Rawlings is…this was a party decision and then he said he has no objection to it. As he himself as a person, even the way he has been treated…so there is no real contrast. We believe in the position he has taken and then he also supports the position we have taken. We don’t intend to send signals about any break in our front,” he said.
Adjei said the party does not trust the security assurance the government had declared.
“We know that the NPP (ruling New Patriotic Part) is not sincere. We know it because we are here; we get very reliable information to indicate that we will not be safe even being present at that parade or any other anniversary activity. It is a risk we are taking to go there and that is why we asked for certain assurances that we would be safe and that they wouldn’t unleash hatchet men on us as we are amongst them,” he said.