Former President John Dramani Mahama wants the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration – led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – to show more commitment to promoting free speech and ensuring the protection of journalists.
According to him, the safety of journalists and the guarantee of free speech are essential in deepening Ghana’s democracy.
In a Facebook post to mark the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the opposition National Democracy Congress (NDC), the NDC’s 2020 flagbearer underscored the relevance of democracy and charged the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to work hard to safeguard it.
“The NDC genuinely believes that the essence of democracy is to make life better for all citizens. This is why every time it has had the privilege of leading this country, the NDC strives to create opportunities for all Ghanaians, irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
“The NDC also believes democracy goes beyond enriching family and friends, because it involves using the nation’s resources responsibly to address the felt needs of all Ghanaians. Democracy, transparency and accountability are bedfellows, and therefore, while creating opportunities for all, leaders are also required to wage a strong battle against corruption”, he noted.
Mahama added, “The NDC knows that a media cowed into silence and an intimidated citizenry do not constitute the appropriate resource for sustainable progress and national development. We believe, therefore, that the ability of citizens to express themselves freely is a right and not a privilege.
“This administration must learn to tolerate criticisms and enhance free speech while protecting journalists from harm.”
A commemorative flyer to mark the NDC’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
Having reiterated the need for government to shield Ghana’s democracy from destruction, he also used the opportunity to assure Ghanaians of the NDC’s resolve to transform the country and better the lives of citizens should it win the 2024 general election.
John Dramani Mahama stated further, “the NDC assures every Ghanaian of better years ahead. We have done it before; bringing tangible socio-economic infrastructure to your communities and ensuring the economy works for all of us and not just a privileged few”.
He then used the medium to charge members of the NDC and the youth to contribute their lot to make Ghana better.
While commending the sacrifices of the party’s founder, the late Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, and other founding stalwarts of the ‘umbrella family’, Mr. Mahama wrote:
“On this solemn day, I commend our forebears who have sacrificed their all to get us here. On this auspicious 30th anniversary day, June 10, 2022, I ask all NDC members and sympathizers including the youth of Ghana; and all Ghanaians to ‘Arise, Arise for Ghana’ wherever we find ourselves.”
“Ghana needs our collective and patriotic energies to rescue her from the decay we see today. Arise, Arise for Ghana!” Mahama’s post concluded.
Ghana recently dropped 30 places to 60th globally and 10th in Africa on the World Press Freedom Index.
It was the country’s lowest-ever ranking in almost two decades, after it ranked 66th and 67th in 2005 and 2002, respectively.
The report, by Reporters Without Borders, said, although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years.