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Rawlings blames violence in Africa on economic imbalance

By The Citizen
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The former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, has attributed the increasing conflicts and wars on the continent to the socio-economic imbalance in Africa.

He said that though certain countries in Africa have made some level of development, they have done so at the expense of rights, freedom and justice, stressing that such have given rise to conflicts and serial agitations.

Speaking to reporters at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the former Ghanaian president noted that Egypt, Tunisia and Tripoli experienced conflicts in their development pursuit because it was at the expense of the people. Accompanied by Senator Ben Obi, Rawlings stressed that development in Africa must protect the rights and freedom of the people if the continent must be free from violence and conflicts.

'To some extent, I will say we are developing, but take a look at Egypt and Tunisia and to a lesser degree, Tripoli – these countries look highly developed, but these have taken place at the expense of rights, freedom and justice for the people and that is what led to the backfiring,' he said.

'I think the best form of development is where you do not do it at the expense of the rights of our people. We should not under-estimate the importance of making sure that things are rooted in the strong sense of freedom.'

He added: 'The political atmosphere must truly be run by the people and this is the surest form of stability, but having seen the collapse of the bipolar world, globalisation has created an environment where Africa is being assimilated and much of that assimilation is being done not on our terms.'

According to him, some burdens that have been carried from colonial era and the nature of development, which has not redressed some of the socio-economic imbalances, as well as the ethnic aspect, have created stress on the economy.

'Sometimes, it explodes in form of conflicts, but I can only hope that true justice falls into the hands of our people,' he said. 'If we create the right atmosphere for freedom and justice on our continent, such conflicts would be a thing of the past.

'But when you have an imbalance in terms of development and impoverishment of our people, naturally it creates stress in our lives, it creates an unhappy situation and that is not what we want.'

Rawlings said that corruption was one major issue that had held Africa down, saying that the lecture he held in Awka afforded him opportunity to share his personal experiences on the issue and the way out.