Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Feed And Guard Revolution Flame

Ghana: Rawlings' February 22nd Address to the Nation

Flt-Lt. Rawlings

We reproduce below a speech made by the leader of the revolution Flt-Lt. Rawlings on radio and television to the people of Ghana on February 22nd, 1984. The text is as it was monitored by the BBC's monitoring service. We have been unable to make anything of the rambling speech, but doubtless readers will fare better.
Countrymen and women, we have a little headache. Nothing much that is appreciably serious, that needs to be mentioned.

Some of the old enemy habits are returning, led by some of the old guards, not in a repentant, contributive manner, but in a bid to infiltrate and to destroy. Some of us have spent so much national time on the peaceful defence of freedom and justice for this country. Some of that pressure has eased, not that it is completely defused for us, but it has eased.

We shall now have to turn around and concentrate on domestic issues. We are hoping this year will be, hopefully, a more constructive year, more time to be spent on constructive issues national development - and our political organs.

My brothers and sisters, our genuine and dedicated citizens of the revolution have faced two forms of discouragements. One is the apparently increasing influence of money and possessions, which seems to be creeping back in the wake of the government's reconciliation policy and is slowly undermining the credibility and resolve of dedicated servants of the revolution. The organs of the revolution see this happening but they seem to appear helpless in combating it.

The other problem is the occasional criticism to which the basic revolutionary organs of the nation have been subjected. Some of them, I know they are saying to themselves, so it seems that we cannot do anything right, but meanwhile we see so many things going wrong. I understand. And most of them or some are on the verge of losing confidence and becoming rather demoralised.

And how has this situation come about? Our detractors first tried to split us from within. They exploited the differences within the revolutionary ranks. But after the events of October and November 1982, we closed that door to them and it is a door which must be kept locked and guarded. After the attempt of June 19th last year, it became clear that a frontal attack cannot succeed and will not succeed, and that does not mean that they will not try again and again.

They have had to look for other means, however, and what they have done is to take the government policy of reconciliation, a policy which is meant to give room for any patriotic person of integrity and goodwill to participate in the decision-making process, and to twist it and distort this policy to dilute and divert the strength of the revolution.


And in the name of reconciliation the struggle is being infiltrated by people who are using old political and financial influence- religious factions and chieftaincy disputes to undermine the organs of the revolution.

Young men and women are very hardworking and that makes the old guards more determined to get rid of them. So they try another plan. They end up by accusing the young and nobled PDC (People's Defence Committee) men of corruption. They hide themselves behind some blind, ignorant and corrupted PDC and WDC (Workers' Defence Committee) officials and so-called youth associations, some of whom are manipulated to sign accusations and put their very signatures to some of these papers. What did they end up doing from this particular area? A delegation is provided with air tickets and maintenance money to come down and to present their concocted petition. A member of the NDC (National Defence Committee) is dispatched to hold an inquiry on the accusation. At a series of hearings and not private hearings but very public hearings - these accusations are demolished and found to be false.


The false corruption charges can, therefore, not be used any longer to remove these noble PDC young men and women who are stumbling blocks in the way of these old guards. They must find another strategy however. And what is their next strategy? Laziness and corruption cannot be used because the people are not lazy and they are not corrupt, so the old guards try to use tribalism, chieftaincy disputes and religious factors.

This is very slippery ground for the young men and women. Why is this slippery ground for our young men and women? Because in the old world of ignorant people, the issue of tribalism and religion invokes blind passions. The ordinary people are driven to action by such lower instincts - when I say lower instincts, sub-human in- stincts, instincts below what you expect of human beings. People tend to act or react without reasoning, without intellectual assessment of the issues on the table.

However, these young men holding on to principles refused to take sides and end up earning the disapproval of all sides. So religious and chieftancy problems begin to be fomented. But the young men and women rightly side- step these traps.

Another strategy which has occasionally been adopted is to try and discredit them in the eyes of other citizens and revolutionary cadres. They resolve to publish an item in the press to convey the impression that they were arresting and imprisoning their own cadres, but carefully omitting to explain that these were the plotters and forgers of signatures now having to face tribunal. But here again, people in other regions would not know these details and would therefore end up swallowing the false picture that was being painted.

Meanwhile, what is going on? Support is built up among political and financial old guards who could later use their money and influence in undermining the running of the region. Fortunately, the hypocrites behind such intrigues have entangled them- selves deeper and deeper, thinking that nobody is watching. But we all are, and we are watching others who have been given a long rope and are about to hang themselves.

Let me warn you, these people have suffered and they are experienced. They know more about the game of political manoeuvring than the young, committed but inexperienced cadres to the extent of using and manipulating unsuspecting cadres against each other. They hide behind other people and use such words as they gradually wind their way into positions of influence.

In the early days of the revolution, there were, no doubt, too many oppressors and it was therefore necessary to criticize actions which caused unnecessary alienation. It was also necessary to call for more self-criticism and examination. But these criticisms have been misused and inflated by these very detractors.

Brothers and sisters, unconsidered actions do sometimes occur but we must acknowledge that they are much less common than they were. When they happen, they are most of the time often blown up out of all proportion, sometimes deliberately so by detractors in order to discredit PDC's and WDC's as a way of undermining their existence.

The organs of the revolution must have the confidence to prevent these negative tendencies, secure in the knowledge that what is right and just in the eyes of the people will be supported.


The attack on social injustice goes on. There is a clear line between right and wrong, between justice and injustice and anyone who thinks that he can cross that line untouched, is making a very grave mistake. I know that there are some people who think that they are getting away with it.

Let me assure you that nobody is going to get away with anything. The files, the letters, the reports awaiting release and action are there, yet there are people trying to delay them, hide them, even setting fire to records in order to wriggle out of the corners into which they have been forced.

During the past two years, as you all know, some of its light, the light of enthusiasm which was generated, has been dimmed. But it has, however, been guarded by the very ordinary villages, despite their hardships worse than those of us in the parasitic urban areas been defended by some workers, by some people in offices, defended by some noble and courageous soldiers and policemen, by cadres, some cadres in all walks of life. It still burns because it is righteous.

talking drums 1984-03-05 Ghana immature at 27 - why buhari must declare assets publicly