Thursday , 9 February 2023

PNC remembers Dr Hilla Limann

Exactly 25 years ago, on the 23rd of January 1998, the President of the Third Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Dr. Hilla Limann passed on to eternity.

Dr. Hilla Limann, a teacher, diplomat and statesman, after winning the June 1979 presidential elections on the ticket of the People’s National Party, an Nkrumaist party, was sworn into office on the 24th of September 1979 as the President of the Third Republic of Ghana.

President Limann, when he came to power, was virtually unknown on the national scene, although it emerged that he had been a teacher, served as a ouncillor at the local authority level and a research officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

His 27 months as President of the Republic of Ghana from 24th September 1979 to 31st December 1981 revealed him as an unassuming, modest and incorruptible politician.

Dr. Limann dignified the high office with unparalleled integrity with his insistence that the rule of law and due process must be the norm in all things relating to government.

President Limann held on to the ideals of democracy.

Stating that his ideology was Ghana, Dr Limann formed an all-inclusive government in which members of the opposition at the time such as Mr. Harry Sawyer were nominated and appointed as cabinet ministers.

The late Mr. William Ofori Atta (Paa Willie), who contested Dr. Limann in the 1979 elections, was nominated and appointed as the chairman of the Council of State.

Leading members of the opposition were included in his entourage during his visits abroad. He allowed debate and welcomed contribution from all quarters.

Dr. Limann run a very transparent, lean, merciful, and honest government.

There was no single political prisoner under his watch and after his overthrow.

The kangaroo courts, the commissions of enquiry including the infamous Citizens Vetting Committee, could not establish any act of corruption attributable to him and nothing adverse was established against any of his political appointees.

Those who had judged President Limann harshly when his government was overthrown should eat back their words and revise their views about him and democracy.

As the Executive President and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he could have illegally detained people who were suspected of plotting to overthrow his government but he did not because he believed in the rule of law.

In fact, very few past Presidents in Africa have escaped being accused of amassing wealth after they had left office.

Dr. Limann was an exception, he was never accused of amassing wealth although there was ample opportunity for him to do so. There would have been no lessons learnt if he had used autocratic and illegal methods to abuse his office and amass wealth. He was meek and humble as he showed that holding political office is a service.

After forming another party when Ghana entered a new political era in 1992, Dr Limann demonstrated how selfless he was when he stepped down in 1996 for another candidate to contest the Presidential election for his party.

He could easily have insisted on being the only fit candidate because he had formed the party.

Even after his overthrow, he chose not to subvert the government of those who toppled his government.

He showed us all that there was virtue in waiting patiently for democracy to happen again.

He was prepared to wait for an opportunity to contest elections no matter how long that took.

Thus, in Ghana’s political history Dr Hilla Limann, stands out as a gentleman President who aspired to the high office and used it to serve his country.

He was a paragon of service with integrity and an apostle of the democracy and the rule of law.

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