Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, on Friday stated that most of the challenges facing the world are due to the fact that is engulfed in hypocrisy.
The former President said abuse of freedom of speech and human rights by world super powers and their allies had damaged the power, the virtue and the principle of right.
President Rawlings said the handling of the Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden issues made him want to question whether the United States wants a genuine democratic relationship with the rest of the world or just wants the world to live in fear of its perceived super power status.
The former President who is in South Africa as part of African National Congress activities marking the 50th Anniversary of the African Union made the comments after he was crowned a Global Champion for People’s Freedom by the Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation at the Walter Sisulu University, Butterworth in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
President Rawlings was presented with a trophy and a plague at a colourful ceremony attended by leading traditional and political leaders in the Eastern Cape Province, including AmaXhosa King Zwelonke and acting Premier of the Eastern Cape Province.
In what was more of a lecture than an acceptance speech, President Rawlings said the United States’ original posturing on the Snowden issue, compelling Austria to forcibly ground Bolivian President Evo Morales plane had changed its role of global policing to global bullying.
The former President said it was unfortunate that havingchampioned the cause of the United States in its pursuit of Snowden, its Western allies are now crying wolf over revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States monitored millions of phone calls in France and tapped the cell phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
He said Germany, which had until recently refused to criticise the United States, should shake itself out of its World War II guilt and be a force of conviction for international political morality.
On South Africa, the former President said serious efforts should be made to close the inequality gap in South Africa as it has the capacity to fuel social violence.
He said: “We cannot speak of having shed blood to rid our countries of apartheid and oppression only to embrace other brutal forms ofdomination on behalf of the brothers and sisters who have embraced worldly trappings of wealth and ostentation yet refuse to adequately compensate those who sweat and toil daily to feed their lifestyles.
“Many reports on the Marikana (mine) incident and related industrial action pointed clearly to the fact that the benefits of the toil of miners are not reaching them or the communities surrounding the mine. The Benchmarks Foundation states that, “lack of employment opportunities for local youth, squalid living conditions, unemployment and growing inequalities contribute to the mess.”
The former President cautioned South Africans not to allow the monster of unbridled and corrupted capitalism to create a new form of political insensitivity under which some who fought to create an equal and just society use their newfound wealth and political power to lord it over the people and exploit their vulnerability.
“We owe it to those whose blood was spilled to compel our leaders at national, party and local level to protect national interests and ensure that the wealth of our countries is not hijacked,” President Rawlings said.
Other recipients of the awards included former OAU Secretary General, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim and Lebo M, a South African singer and composer famous for arranging and performing music for the Disney Lion King movies.
On Saturday President Rawlings attended a well attended event organised by the ANC in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the African Union in East London. The ceremony was addressed by President Jacob Zuma who doubles as the leader of the ANC and former OAU Secretary General, Edem Kodjo from Togo.
The Mkiva Humanitarian Award, which is in memory of Richard Mkiva, a community activist and fighter for the rights of rural communities who was poisoned in 1959 by colonial forces, was established in 1999 with President Mandela as the first recipient.