Ex-president John Kufuor says it is gratifying to have ex-president John Rawlings take part in the historic 'John Kufuor Foundation for Leadership, Governance and Development' project at the University of Ghana, Legon.
He said the presence of one of his fiercest critics is a testament of how the foundation is determined to be non-partisan.
Mr. Rawlings was part of an array of dignitaries - local and foreign - who were present at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana for the inaugural lecture of the John Kufuor Foundation.
The enigmatic ex-president was welcomed with loud cheers by a partisan New Patriotic Party congregation and a cross section of students of the University of Ghana.
The New Patriotic Party presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, was also present at the ceremony, to perhaps, continue his listening campaign, this time not with Ghanaian voters but the ex-president of the Republic of Germany, H.E. Horst Kohler.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kufuor said the presence of three ex-African presidents who handed over power peacefully is a loud demonstration that Africa is making progress.
“Not too long ago the impression was that political leaders in Africa had the penchant of clinging on to power and refusing to leave the stage when their time was up. On the stage here this evening, there are four of us former presidents and I believe this will show that indeed Africa is making progress and should demonstrate that there can be productive life after the State House.
“…I am happy to see you my predecessor in office, former president Jerry John Rawlings,” Mr Kufuor said to loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
The programme was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey and also had the ex-president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki and newly elected chairman of the Convention People’s Party, Samia Nkrumah, also attending.
Mr John Kufuor flanked by Prof Ernest Aryeetey to his right and HE Horst Kohler to his immediate left and HE Thabo Mbeki to his extreme left
Mr. Kufuor said “his time in office has deepened his conviction about the critical importance of good leadership being the corner stone of good governance which in turn is the best guarantor for over all national development.”
His thirst for good leadership led to the establishment of the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation.
The Foundation has targeted two projects centered on two universities - the University of Ghana Legon and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
“The Kwame Nkrumah University Science Technology will house my presidential library and museum to serve as a resource centre for all the information regarding the administration I led.
"The Centre for Leadership, Governance and Development here in Legon will provide an atmosphere for young people to appreciate the role of leadership in ensuring good governance to deliver the development needs."
He said the Centre will not award degrees or diplomas but stimulate critical thinking and deepening of thoughts and minds of young people.
“It will promote the grooming of accountable leadership and it will be the place for people of Ghana and beyond to expand each others’ experiences and benefits from a broadened outlook of life,” he said.
The foundation, he noted will be global in nature and serve as a think tank that will publish papers and induct new leaders and appointed office holders.
Mr. Kufuor had early on in the day led the dignitaries to the ground breaking ceremony for the JAK foundation.
“I pray that the centre becomes the breeding ground for good leadership, to anchor good governance that will deliver the development that our nation, our continent so much deserves. May the flames that we lit today be constantly fueled to transform our continent to take its proper place in the world,” Mr Kufuor stated.
The ex-president together with his dignitaries took turns to plant trees at the project site on the University of Ghana campus.
Play the attached audio for excerpts of the Ex-president John Kufuor's remarks