General News of Thursday, 25 October 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Mills abandoned me- Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings yesterday delivered a lecture on corruption and described the excessive monetization of politics in the current system as a major threat to Ghana's democracy.

Mr. Rawlings lamented how politicians who had monetized the political landscape were denying competent persons from serving their people.

The Freedom Lecture, organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA), saw the former president telling a large audience at the conference hall of the Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra that with elections around the corner and politicians anxious to retain or capture power, he was going to be mindful about the contents of his delivery.

The former president, who stopped short of addressing Nana Akufo-Addo as the president, was supported at the lecture by his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings.

Despite his promise of being mindful of his comments, Mr. Rawlings gave an impassioned speech touching on almost all facets of Ghana's contemporary political environment, with the judiciary and the media being the hardest hit.

As a prelude to the lecture, which is expected to be published in subsequent editions of Daily Guide, the NDC founder said, “ I heard discussions that a newspaper had published that the platform I was going to use is an NPP platform. But of course, I have a walking encyclopedia in my office in the person of Kofi Adams, who was very quick to remind me that he doesn't think so. He said even if that was the case, when he (President Mahama) was the Vice President, he delivered the first lecture for this organisation.

“So, I guess if President Mahama could do it, is there any reason why I should avoid it?

“There are some very interesting situations. When President... Jesus Christ! I beg your pardon!.. when the presidential candidate of the NPP Nana Akufo-Addo came to my office, some of our people just could not take it... that how could I have allowed this!

“I was just asking a simple our late President [Mills] was known as the Asomdwehene. And I guess part of that credential came from the fact that he treated the opposition in a very civilized manner so he was Asomdwee. And if today it is the most desirable way to ensure a peaceful co-existence, why should I continue to remain in a place be regarded as the trouble maker...the war monger?

“And yet, the very reasons why I was war mongering on the killings and corruption, Asomdwee didn't seem to be taking them up.

“His relationship with President Kufuor, with Nana Akufo-Addo, school friend, this and that and I was left out there!

“So, it is almost as if... the NDC, my family, wants to eat the cake and have it at the same time and I should be the war monger so that the others can play diplomatic, fine, fine role.

“And I do recall very well that in one of his major press conferences, President Mills said, and I recall this very well: “I will not inherit anybody else's enemies.”

It is there in the records go listen to it.”

The former military officer said, “I don't think I went out of my way to create enemies. For the charges that I was making against the NPP, I disagreed with President Mills on the approach because I felt some of the investigations were done in a manner that suppressed indicting evidence.”

He said because the NDC government had failed to correct wrongdoings of the past, they were afraid to go into opposition.

“We have not taken on the issue of justice properly and I want to be properly understood that whenever I say to my people that 'why are you afraid of going into opposition? I am not saying that I want them to go into opposition.

“I will want them to win but if you were to lose and go into opposition, can you enjoy the safety or any security from the judicial system and the laws of the country? How forceful is the judicial consciousness of the people to ensure that they could not get persecuted as happened the last time when you were in opposition from 2000?” he asked.

The former dictator-turned-democrat said he did not understand why people should only derive their safety from just being in government.

“We should be able to derive our safety from the judicial system of the country and that should be overriding for all of us.”

If that happened, he said “Whether you are in government or outside of government, you can enjoy security”.