President Akufo-Addo has on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Referendum that ushered in Ghana’s democracy urged Ghanaians to renew their trust in democracy, and bear in mind at all times, the oft-cited statement, that “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
The day which was April 28, 1992, saw the majority of Ghanaians vote for the country to adopt a democratic rule.
The President recounting this day asked Ghanaians to be proud of our democracy and guard it since they are some individuals who want us to return to the dark days.
“I say so because there are some, who for their own parochial and selfish interests, would want to see a return to the dark days of authoritarian rule, simply because, with no respect for the Ghanaian people, they are either unwilling to subject themselves or their vision to the open yscrutiny of the Ghanaian people, or because they know they will be rejected by the Ghanaian people and, thus, seek a shortcut to office and power. Let us strengthen our resolve to resist such persons for our own common good,” he said.
According to him, despite all the gains made in the 4th Republic, we have to acknowledge that
Ghana has not reached the potential she should have.
“The biggest challenge we face continues to be eradicating poverty. We still have challenges in the performance of our public services; we face threats, traditional and contemporary, to our nation’s security and social stability, in the form of chieftaincy conflicts, land disputes, ethnic conflicts, cyber security issues, youth unemployment, economic hardships, and corruption in our public life,” he added.
He posted that “we experienced, from these events, a weakening of the sense of self-confidence and progress of the Ghanaian, which was evidenced by the fact that components of the Human Development Index, i.e., life expectancy rates, access to education and per capita income indicators, at the time, were not commensurate with our vast potential.”
In 1992, three million, four hundred and eight thousand, one hundred and nineteen Ghanaians voted “Yes” in the Referendum, representing 92.59% of the vote, to return our nation to democratic rule, while 272,855 voted “No”, representing 7.41%.
“The Constitution, overwhelmingly approved in the Referendum, set up a liberal, democratic state, founded on the separation of powers, with exclusive power in the Judiciary to superintend and enforce the Constitution and protect the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
“The coming into effect of the 1992 Constitution was promulgated with immense, popular backing, and, on 7th January 1993, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, Chairman of the erstwhile PNDC, was sworn into office as the 1st President of the 4th Republic,” he said.
“We have, since then, experienced the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional governance in our history, banishing the spectre of instability, that had disfigured much of our nation’s early existence, and the benefits are showing. We have, over the last 30 years, witnessed sustained growth in every facet of national life. There have been considerable improvements in the Human Development Index – simply put, democracy has been good for us.”
He added “We have had five Presidents in the history of the 4th Republic, with peaceful transfers of power from a governing to an opposition party on three separate occasions. Even when there was disagreement with the outcome of an election, it was the Supreme Court, on two occasions, rather than the streets, that validated its result. We are, arguably, the most stable democracy in West Africa,” he added.
He stressed that “there are no short-cuts for the progress and prosperity of our country. Only hard work, creativity, innovation, a sense of enterprise and unity in the nation can produce the accelerated economic development that we all yearn for and deserve”.