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General News of Saturday, 5 September 2009

Source: KWABENA BOADU

"Rawlings Is Our Hero"


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• He Never Said Anywhere That He Would Be President Again

• He Only Stands For Justice and Speaks for the Poor Majority of Ghanaians

Ghanaians and NDC supporters Tell Messrs Kwesi Pratt and Raymond Archer

Many Ghanaians and NDC supporters have expressed their anger at Messrs Kwesi Pratt and Raymond Archer, the Managing Editor and Editor in Chief of The Insight and The Enquirer respectively for their recent vitriolic attacks on President Rawlings, former President of the Republic and founder of the National Democratic Party (NDC). The former President had criticized President Mills for the snail pace at which he is dealing with crimes committed against the state and the people of Ghana, and the neglect of the party’s foot-soldiers after it won power. The people have therefore reminded Messrs Pratt and Archer, and those behind them that Rawlings will continue to be a hero in this country for his selflessness and for standing up for the voiceless poor majority.

The two newspaper editors unleashed their verbal barrage against the former President during the last Saturday’s popular Radio Gold programme “Alhaji & Alhaji”. The two panelists claimed that the former President was being critical of President Mills because he was not the one calling the shots in the new administration.

Callers to radio phone-in programmes, comprising NDC supports and other members of the public, have described the attacks by Messrs Raymond Archer and Kwesi Pratt as rabid and without substance because they failed to take into account the current situation in the country, as many Ghanaians are crying for the change the Mills campaign promised them.

Some of them said they cherished the editors for having played roles similar to what the former President is doing, but reiterated that their present position, in which they seem to be making a U-turn, was uncalled for. They explained further that taking into consideration the real situation on the ground one could observe that criminal politicians in the past administration were having a field day, with many of their criminal lot remaining at post in government institutions, and carrying on with their economic crimes against the state and people of this country.

They argued that they did not understand the head or tail of the points the two editors tried to make to merit their criticism of President Rawlings because they themselves had made remarks similar to his about the Mills administration regarding its slowness in bringing perpetrators of crime against the state and the people of Ghana to book for the past eight months.

They also backed the former President on the issue he raised about the neglect of the foot-soldiers of the party since the Mills administration assumed power. They made references to how some members of the party laid down their lives for the party and yet, sadly, the party’s foot-soldiers and stalwarts have been left to fend for themselves while the NPP still controls strategic areas of the national economy.

On his part, the former President Rawlings has explained his reasons for criticizing the Mills administration. Speaking in an interview with Adom FM, a Tema-based radio station, he stated that it was his anguish about the poor conditions of Ghanaians and the apparent failure of the new government to give them hope that occasioned his rather harsh criticism.

In an earlier reaction from his Ridge Office by his spokesperson, Mr. Kofi Adams, he condemned Mr. Pratt, likening his actions to a parasite, and alleged that he was being paid to rain insults on the founder of the NDC.

In another ferocious rebuttal in defense of President Rawlings, Alhaji Bature, the former host of the Alhaji & Alhaji programme, who was a very close friend of Mr. Pratt, said Mr. Pratt was a betrayer, who had betrayed all the people who had ever been loyal to him, such as Mr. Kweku Baako Jnr, one Mr. Kwesi Agbley and his good self, among many others.

He asked whether people like Mr. Kwesi Pratt were fit to attack President Rawlings. “Is he fit to attack Rawlings? My gracious God. I wish he (Pratt) was here, I would have asked him, if he was not worse than President Rawlings in terms of attacking President Mills?”

“Can he compare himself to Rawlings? The noise that he is making, thinking that he brought the NDC to power, if Rawlings had not helped would the NDC be in power?”, he queried.

Continuing, Bature said the Insight Managing Editor was being hypocritical and manipulative individual who had him kicked from the “Alhaji & Alhaji” programme on Radio Gold, and said he had again ensured that he was thrown out of Hot FM, another Accra radio station where he hosted a programme.

He said Mr. Pratt was not even fit to wash Rawlings’ shoes let alone trying to compare himself with him, describing the former President’s life-style as veritable epitome of corruption.

“Compare his lifestyle to what he earns! He said Mr. Pratt’s newspaper, The Insight, does not sell even three hundred copies, yet look at the cars he owns. Look at the houses he has built! Look at how Pratt is educating his children in the university, yet he has the nerve to accuse others of being corrupt!”

Pouring more venom on his former friend, Bature said he had fed him almost daily in his home when they were fighting to oust the NPP. He called Mr. Pratt an ungrateful person who would betray everybody else to further his own image of immortality and incorruptibility, saying Pratt has no respect for friendship, which was why he even attacked young and idealistic followers of his such as Okudzeto-Ablakwa and others when they were appointed as Ministers.

“Listen to what he said about them on Peace FM after they were appointed as Ministers,” Bature continued. He went on to describe Mr. Pratt as a conniver and a wincher who at one time betrayed a confidence of Rawlings to his friend Capt Kojo Tsikata.

“Earlier, he had come out in staunch defense of Rawlings, saying that the Atta Mills government was betraying the people of Ghana who voted for it by refusing to prosecute former government officials,” Bature fumed.

He said that people often misunderstood Rawlings because they fail to listen to what he says and warned that anybody who ignored Rawlings did so at the peril of the NDC.

“I say that what Rawlings was saying is not different from what my research tells me”, he said, adding that the sentiments expressed by Rawlings were similar to the feelings of the majority of Ghanaians, including the people in the leading political parties of the NPP and NDC.

He explained that the people in the NPP were looking for economic improvement in their lives, while those in the NDC were looking for justice based on which they voted for Professor Atta Mills.

He accused President Atta Mills of failing to deliver on both fronts, and just hiding out at the Castle, the seat of government, when he should be out offering inspiration to the people of Ghana.

In a rebuttal of the scathing attack on him Mr. Pratt has said that he does not own any house, and where he lives with his family was built by his wife with a loan from Ghana Commercial Bank. Speaking on Peace FM yesterday, he said even the cars he uses are gifts from friends. He graciously conceded that Alhaji Bature had helped him a lot in the past, and would not respond to such a friend.

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