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General News of Monday, 5 September 2011

Source: ghanabusinessnews

WikiLeaks - Rawlings uses drugs

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WikiLeaks publishes US cable saying Rawlings uses drugs, his Finance Minister incompetent

WikiLeaks has published a US Embassy cable that says former President Jerry John Rawlings uses drugs and his finance minister at that time was alarmingly incompetent.

The cable created July 31, 1997 and published by Wikileaks August 30, 2011 under the subject: A Close look at Ghana’s President Rawlings says in the summary that the Netherlands’ departing Ambassador to Ghana, Hein Princen spent a full weekend in close quarters with J. J. Rawlings, and came away both fascinated and a bit unnerved.

According to the cable, “Princen’s spouse, a trained social worker, saw incontrovertible evidence of drug use by the President.”

“Rawlings complained that his advisors keep him in the dark. His wife was present, and Rawlings was deferential towards her, but it was clear that they are seen together only for family reasons or reasons of state. Princen found Rawlings tired of his public persona and easily persuaded that people were working behind his back,” it says.

The cable continues, “Rawlings seems caught between a desire to bring his chief of state tenure to a close on one hand, and a lively fear of the consequences of so doing on the other. Princen saw Rawlings’ newest eminence grise up close, and did not like his baleful influence in the area of Ghanaian economic policy.”

The cable notes that very occasionally Rawlings invites an accredited diplomat to join his family for weekend relaxation and conversation on the modest but comfortable presidential yacht anchored in the Volta Lake. The cable identified all who were present including a former US Ambassador to Ghana, Dr. Tony Aidoo who was described as a presidential advisor and Rawlings’ six children.

In the cable the US ambassador to Ghana at that time noted: “Guests so honored are enjoined not to discuss the adventure inside Ghana, and Princen assured me that I alone (in Ghana) was privy to what follows.”

On Rawlings’ private persona, the cable states “Ambassador Princen’s wife concluded emphatically that Rawlings is a drug-user. Periods of high-level energizing were followed by Rawlings’disappearance for thirty minutes, and upon his return he was subdued and even mellow. He perspired profusely at short notice, and consumed large quantities of non-alcoholic drinks. Princen reinforced my own impression that Rawlings’ attention span has shortened of late. But the Princens found the President open, indulgent towards his children, and extremely deferential – even obsequious – towards his spouse.”

It adds, “the tenor of their conversation reinforced the widespread impression that they see each other only in public or in the context of this retreat to Lake Volta. (Rawlings said this was the first family gathering this year).”

On Rawlings’ circle of friends, the published cable indicates that “President Rawlings seems to have been stripped of a circle of confidants whose collective weight, while far from brilliant, appeared to moderate Rawlings’ tendency to overact at first evidence of some unpalatable development.”

Among other things the cable says “It appears that the President is far from well informed as to what transpires in his name. World Bank and IMF visitors complain that he seems profoundly uninformed on economic matters, even as his Minister of Finance is seen by financial experts inside and outside Ghana as alarmingly incompetent.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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