Today marks the 69th birthday of former President Jerry John Rawlings who was born on June 22, 1947 to Victoria Agbotui and the late James Ramsey John, a chemist from the United Kingdom.
He was head of state from 1982 to 1992 and president from 1993 to 2001.
Here are 10 of his most powerful quotes:
1. I, Rawlings will not turn round and commit the very crime for which another man lost his life.
2. I would dare you to go and line up some of your finest policemen, some of your finest head of states, some of your finest, what you call it “judges”, make any allegations against me. You included. One of the questions you want to ask. Take me through a chemical interrogation, I will be the one who will pass. I wonder how many of you will pass.
3. “People with conscience are sometimes appalled by the extreme insensitivity displayed by some political appointees. The unprecedented levels of corruption, offensive show of power and opulence by some at a time when our country requires prudence and frugality is something that I call on President Mahama and his vice to set their eyes on”
4. Democracy is not realised merely by having a machinery for registering voters and getting them to vote every four years, but also by there being a machinery for identifying the needs of those voters in between the election periods, and monitoring the realization of those needs.
5. “The test of religious belief is not in pious platitudes and cautious charity, but in positive and creative action.”
6. “Food is a political weapon…Africa’s foremost defence is self-sufficiency in food. Until we attain a substantial measure of freedom from food dependency, we are vulnerable to manipulation by the wealthier nations.”
7. “Whatever form of government we adopt as a people to suit our peculiar circumstances, our basic tenet is our common yearning and concern for every individual; for politics, whatever its colour must be an avenue to serve our fellowmen.”
8. “The most dangerous mistake of any political force is to forget its roots.”
9. “Nothing is more shameful for a people than a government imposing itself on the will of the people. Genuine electoral processes conducted without fear or intimidation, without the harsh use of our armed forces, produces a cleansing effect in society and reassures the people that their will has prevailed. The denial of the will of the people and its attendant corruption is what used to generate the coups of the past. If we want to distance our political dispensation from coup d’états then it is incumbent upon us to maintain the sanctity of the right of choice and the electoral process.”
10. “It is not the absence of military interventions, which we seem to have achieved that will restore democracy, freedom, justice and development. What is required is the integrity of leadership and ability to empower the people. Leadership should have confidence in our people and not feel intimidated by empowering them.”