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General News of Monday, 25 June 2007

Source: Daily Graphic

I will help protect Constitution - JJ

Former President, Flt Lt J.J. Rawlings, has reiterated his commitment to help protect the country's Constitution.

He added, however, that he would continue to speak against the ills in society.

Former President Rawlings said this at a reception organised in his honour by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday night at the State House in Accra to mark his 60th birthday.

The ceremony was attended by Oheneba Adusei Poku, the Akyempemhene of Kumasi, who represented the Asantehene, traditional rulers, friends, former ministers of the NDC regime and a cross-section of the public.

Also in attendance was the 35-member Renaissance School Varsity Chorus of Detroit, Michigan, .USA.

Former President Rawlings called for a collective effort, particularly from the main opposition party, at restoring what he described as sanity in the country.

He commended the NDC MPs for their role in maintaining their stance as a credible opposition and protecting the interests of Ghanaians from being abused.

He also spoke about the need to preserve role models in society and mentioned in particular Dr (Mrs) Mary Grant, a former member of the Council of State in the NDC regime, adding that those role models had a lot to contribute towards the country's growth and development.

He further paid tribute to his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Dr Benjamin Kumbuor and others for their support and contributions in his life.

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, commended the former President for his contribution towards restoring democracy in the country.

He urged him not to be deterred by the attitude of his detractors, saying that "there are a lot of people ready to die for you".

"I want to assure you that there are a lot of people who are ready to die for you. We will continue to die for you. Nobody can erase you from memory," he said.

He commended Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings and her children for their support for the former President.

Mr Tsikata described former President Rawlings as a man of integrity and courage who worked for the good of the country.

He said even as a young man in his 30s, Rawlings had not been scared of losing his life for the good of the people.

He attributed the former President's ability to withstand the lies from his detractors to the Creator and His love for the truth.

A legal practitioner, Mr Tony Lithur, said one remarkable thing about former President Rawlings was his compassion for the ordinary people.

Mr Kweku Sintim-Misa (KSM), a satirist, said although he, like many others, had been very critical of the Rawlings regime, he had come to the programme to pay homage to Rawlings for the good work he had done for the country.

Dr Ezanetor Rawlings, daughter of the former President, said the Rawlings children had not received any preferential treatment as the children of a President, adding, "Our father did not abuse power."