Mandela’s values challenge us all to stand for justice – Rawlings

President Rawlings signs the Book of Condolence and his wife, Nana Konadu looks on

Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings says late global peace icon, Nelson Mandela’s ideals as a selfless voice for the world’s oppressed, must not be allowed to die with him.

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His demise should rather challenge the rest of mankind to stand for what is just and right and defend his great principles of equality, fellow feeling, respect for each another and moral fortitude.

President Rawlings who arrived in Johannesburg Tuesday with his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings to attend a memorial for the fallen hero, was speaking to the media shortly after signing a book of condolence opened in memory of Mandela at the residence of the South African High Commissioner in Accra onMonday.

“Mandela was unique in many ways – his loyalty to his principles made him strong to the good people of the world, and they equally remained loyal to him. His capacity, power, empathy, his psychological understanding into the pain of humanity was such that he just couldn’t abdicate his responsibility. He was too sensitive to it and this in effect kept him very loyal to the people not only in South Africa but even internationally,” said President Rawlings.

Lone Voice

Rawlings said at the collapse of the bi-polar world and while the unipolar world was beginning to over assert itself, the late South African PresidentNelson Mandela was the one voice strong enough to call the rest of the world to order over their excesses in Iraq, saying he was that moral conscience of the world against whose voice the West dared not disobey.

“Only Mandela could say enough is enough”, he said, maintaining that Mandela’s selflessness transcended global boundaries, while his activism and endearing fortitude helped blaze the trail and made it possible for the black man to be acceptable to the psyche of humanity and white supremacists.

That strength to fight for the common good, he said, made it easier for US President Barack Obama to be seen as a potential leader and eventually voted into office as a leader.

“He cleared the climate of prejudices,” he said, adding that while Black South Africans were struggling to push apartheid off their necks, Mandela’s voice and fortitude brought the issues to the fore of global politics and opened the eyes of many to the cruelty that man meted to his fellow, an eye-opening chapter that would lead citizens of sponsoring states to question the double standards of their own leaders and eventually expedite the processes of freedom.

Maintaining that Mandela was the conscience of the world and a revered one at that, President Rawlings said while priests are also revered, Mandela’s reverence stems from the mutual trust the world had for him, and he was held with such a passion that he was not just a political moral force, or an upstanding moral force but one who could move mountains.

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings

Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings said Mandela was one formidable man that would be difficult to replace, however the world can take solace in his many good examples he left behind, for not only leaders but also the youth.

She said the youth of today must emulate Mandela’s selflessness and principled lifestyles, instead of seeking to be rich in no time.

“Mandela has set a lot of examples, and I think young people should look at him and emulate it. Let’s not emulate wrongly, let’s look at the correct people, upright people, forthright people, objective people, people who are looking at the destiny of everybody, not just the destiny of themselves. Let’s see how we can follow those people and pull Africa out of the quagmire of poverty, disease and underdevelopment.”