Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress has lamented the politicization of some remarks made by a senior citizen- Sir Sam Jonah- in his famous “Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana’s future by a senior citizen” speech.
According to Asiedu Nketia, the speech by Sir Sam Jonah should be viewed as a warning to the country’s political class on the running of the country and not an attack on the government.
Speaking in a UTV interview, Asiedu Nketia said the speech delivered by Sir Sam Jonah during an Accra Rotary event was a perfect illustration of the country.
“Sir Sam Jonah gave us the perfect state of the country. Anyone who understands governance and not partisan will know that Sam Jonah has given us the warning at the right time. Governance is not about the firefighting way of doing things, it’s about the economy, state of governance, state of security and state of corruption. These things make up governance.”
In his speech, Sam Jonah expressed worry at a certain culture of silence in the country which he feared was leading to a lack of accountability and transparency from the government.
“It appears to me that in recent times in our fourth Republican dispensation, the courage to stand up for the truth and the determination to uphold the common good is lost. In our dark moments as a nation, it is concerning that the voices of the intellectuals are receding into oblivion. Sadly, it is a consequence of the deep partisan polarization of our country such that everything is seen through the lenses of politics.”
“It appears to me that the culture of silence has returned. This time not enforced by legal and military power but through convenience, parochialism, hypocrisy and lack of conviction. Where are our Adu Boahens and PV ANSAHs?” parts of the statement read.
This aspect of the speech earned Sam Jonah the most attacks from persons close to the government and Asiedu Nketia believes the vile attacks rather validated the position by Sam Jonah.
“My biggest regret about the Sam Jonah issue [is] that despite the man speaking in a very nationalistic and non-partisan way, he was still attacked by some youth who viewed his speech from the angle of politics. Some of the responses confirmed what he said. The insults and abuse were [a] confirmation of his culture of silence claims.”
He furthered that anyone who tried to connect Sir Sam Jonah to the NDC would be dishonest as no evidence exists to draw a correlation between the party and the senior citizen.
Rather, Asiedu Nketia says Sam Jonah could be said to be a member of the NPP due to his close relationship with former President Kufuor.
“Anyone who says Sir Sam Jonah is an NDC member is not being truthful. He is a non-partisan person. He is a businessman and this is the second time I’ve heard him speak like this in the media. The first time was during Rawlings and he said it somewhere that the government was wrong with the way it was fighting poverty. He had big trouble with the then NDC government but most of the things he said came to pass. I’ve never seen him in NDC or NPP colours but because of his relationship with President Kufuor, some persons may assume that he has sympathies for NPP,” he said on UTV.