General News of Wednesday, 6 June 2001

Source: Accra Mail

"We Will Not Return to Exile" - PSI

Members of Peace Seekers International, the non-governmental organisation of PNDC torture victims and returnees from exile, have said they do not want to see this country plunged into mayhem as a result of ex-Flt. Lt. Rawlings' tirade against the government on Monday, June 4, 2001 at the Arts Centre in Accra.

Mr. Abubakar Alhassan, a spokesman for the group told The Accra Mail yesterday that for those of them who were forced to flee into exile due to Rawlings' destabilisation capers against past governments, his Arts Centre threats and insults were not going to be trifled with. "This is because we do not want to go back into exile," he said to The Accra Mail.

"If Rawlings is not checked, he will try to do to Kufuor what he did to Limann in 1981. We have just returned from long periods of exile, we do not want another coup that will send us out again."

To this end, Peace Seekers International will hold a press conference in the coming days to be followed by a peace march against Rawlings. Public opinion so far has been overwhelmingly against the ex-Flt. Lt. with some people openly calling for his arrest on grounds of incitement to treason. Others have also appealed to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to revoke the largely symbolic one year "volunteerism" job given him for actions contrary to the spirit of democracy.

Meanwhile, Dr N. Nyaho-Tamakloe, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said the NPP administration has no time to indulge in unnecessary squabbles.

He said this is because it has ahead of it the enormous task of "rebuilding the economy and improving upon amenities such as roads, water supply to villages and schools among other things.

Dr Tamakloe was speaking to members of the Ablekuma-South Constituency of the NPP in reaction to Flt. Lt. Rawlings comments on June 4.

Dr Tamakloe said there was no need for Ghanaians to give Rawlings "even a day again through the ballot box in Ghana". This is because nothing new could be expected of him after being in power for 20 year.

"Ghanaians voted President Kufuor to be President and so he will be till they vote him out," he said.

He said it is important to note that the majority of Ghanaians voted the NPP government into power, adding that any decision taken should thus be in the interest of the majority.

Dr Tamakloe gave the assurance that under the NPP government, there would be no tolerance for corruption, laziness, complacency and immorality.

He advised the NDC to do some self-examination in order to return to the political arena in 2004 saying, "if they vote us out through the ballot box we will accept it. Anything short of that will vehemently be resisted by Ghanaians".

A group of people calling themselves Victims of the June 4 Uprising on Monday commended the government and parliament for expunging from the statute books the celebration of the June 4 as a public holiday and urged Ghanaians never again to allow such a tragedy to occur in the history of the country.

"We also want to say thank you to all those who voted in parliament and especially those who did not vote at all to ensure the passage of the bill to remove June 4 as a holiday," Nii Yemoh, a Spokesman for the victims, said.

He was speaking at a news briefing in Accra at which he and some of his colleagues recounted their experiences.

Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings had defended the events of June 4, saying, it was brought about as a result of neo-colonialist tendencies that had eaten into the society at the time.

He said it was sad that the present government had failed to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of June 4 just because of the hatred they have for the NDC, which identifies itself with the event.

Rawlings said the government is using its apparatus including the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to intimidate people perceived to be sympathisers of the NDC.

In words that clearly could be described as incitement, he asked the people not to fold their arms but rise to defend their constitutional rights against any such misuse of power.