The Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, has called on Ghanaians to forgive former President Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of his excesses if they want to uphold his legacy.
“If there is any legacy that we can uphold of Jerry John Rawlings, then let us first and foremost forgive him for what in our eyes, and estimation, seemingly were excesses in his utterances and doings.
“At this holy mass, when we commemorate the saving passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that singular sacrifice of atonement which he made once and for all on Calvary, ours now is to forgive if any.
“For now is the time to leave judgment to the Lord, Our God alone. let St Paul’s word in I Corinthians 4:5 be our guide and I quote: Do not make any judgment before the appointed time until the lord comes, for he will bring to life what is hidden in darkness…”
Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle made the call at a requiem mass on Sunday at the Catholic Church where the late President fellowshipped, held as part of his four-day funeral.
He mentioned the former President’s active participation in coup d’états coupled with supposed offences including deaths and property seizures, he personally caused to some families and individuals.
The Archbishop said another legacy of Flt. Lt. Rawlings, who he described as a “Great tree that had fallen and a mighty tree that had been uprooted by the wind,” was his mantra: transparency, probity and accountability and his perseverance to institute that into the Ghanaian body politics.
“Jerry in his own way was always hungering and thirsting for righteousness. In his own way, he fought for the poor, worked for justice to be established for the underprivileged and he could not tolerate the slow pace at which this was coming to bear,” he said.
Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle advised the congregation and the entire populace to take oaths in the presence of the Lord to work conscientiously with virtues of transparency, probity and accountability in their social, religious and political lives.
He also advised the children of the late President to unite and lead the legacies of their father.
“Now is the time to bring your father back to life by walking in his shoes and nurturing his virtues and values,” he said.
The mass, which was adorned with hymnals and scripture readings, was graced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira, Former President Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the Speaker of Parliament Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, and other government officials.
Other attendees were the Agbotui and allied families and members of the Anlo Traditional Council, stalwarts of the National Democratic Congress including Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Mr. Haruna iddrisu, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, Mrs. Dzifa Gomashie and some foreign notables.
Flt. Lt. Rawlings, who was the first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, died on November 12, 2020 at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
He left behind a wife, Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and four children, Zanetor, Kimathi, Amina and Yaa Asantewaa.