After peacefully handing over power to them in 1979, Jerry John Rawlings was ‘tormented’ by the Hilla Limann government, it has been revealed.
Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, a confidant of the late president disclosed in a Citi FM interview that Rawlings was harassed and monitored by the Limann government.
He revealed that Rawlings was not allowed to re-enter the military and went into farming to ‘cure his boredom'.
“JJ Rawlings went into farming because of boredom. Immediately after handing over to the new government, he and his colleagues were asked to go out to study.
"The others took the money and left, but he didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t allowed to go back into the airforce. He would go to the farm with people from Tema Newtown, Nungua, Madina, and Nima. His main aim was to farm; there were no guns on the farm. He even imported a tractor. When the machine was brought to the country, he brought it to my grandfather and gave it to my brother to use”.
Nii Afotey Agbo who was part of the June 4 revolution said the Limann government suspected Rawlings to be recruiting and training soldiers to unseat the government and arrested him.
“A different meaning was read into his farming at Katamanso with claims that he was training people to overthrow the government. He went through a lot; some surveillance was put on him by the Limann government. He was being followed on a daily basis; there was never a moment that he was alone. One day he was arrested at Katamanso as he was going to the farm and was held for the entire day, and they did what they wanted with him,” he said.
He revealed the role Cuba played in Rawlings’s release from prison. He disclosed that attempts by Rawlings to seek redress from the court proved futile.
“Before handing over, he never visited any neighbouring country. The only country he visited before handing over to Limann was Cuba so the bond between him and Cuba was strong. There was apparently a call from Cuba that if he was harmed they would not have it easy, which is what compelled the government at the time to let him go. Someone who handed over to the government because of the decision by the people was being tormented.
“They even went to court for redress and the court declared that if the government felt that their movement was a problem, the government had the right to place him under surveillance. The court allowed the government to be chasing the man. He stopped coming to Katamanso after he was arrested. We were also being targetted, and he decided that if it was because of him that these things were happening, he would stop coming.”
Afotey Agbo said it was honour for him to have served with Rawlings who ruled the country for nearly two decades.
“It was a privilege getting close to Rawlings. He was an extraordinary person,” he stated.