Former President Jerry John Rawlings has stated that the recent catalogue of allegations against him that have resurfaced in the media are a calculated effort by certain vested interests who feel intimidated and threatened by his level of integrity.
“At 71 I have held onto my integrity for so long, I am proud of it, and it is too late for me to compromise on what has brought me this far. It’s not for sale, he added.
Mr. Rawlings revealed that the attacks on him are rather an attack on the sense of purpose of the youth.
“I am not the one they are really after. You are the ones they are after, to break that tenacity that belief in you,” he told a charged gathering at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on Saturday.
Delivering the keynote address at the 2018 KNUST SRC organized TEKTALK event, the former president said: “When you maintain the solidity of your position and refuse to compromise, they naturally have a problem because you may have become so influential.
“The power of the influence that you wield, I think, threatens some people so that if they cannot buy you, if they cannot get you to compromise your position, you need to be destroyed, otherwise your word tomorrow could do damage to them and move them out of office,” he said.
The former president responded to allegations by a so-called former bodyguard of his, stating that he was not his bodyguard but the driver of one of the armoured tanks captured during the 31st December 1981 Uprising.
“We won that battle that day, but he became overexcited, took a tank and drove into some people, so I distanced myself from him. After that he became prey to some of the dissident elements.”
He said it was unfortunate that he was brought on television to spew untruths and dared people of his ilk to do a polygraph test, enforcing the charge of how far vested interests would go to protect an agenda.
Former President Rawlings also referred to another person who hid in his girlfriend’s room on June 4, 1979, but has subsequently been put out as a hero of the uprising for 37 years.
“Our children are reading about some of these falsehoods in history books and the time has come for some of these people to be exposed through the lie-dictator test,” he disclosed.
The leader of the June 4 Uprising and the 31st December Revolution said during the 3rd Republic he was caricatured as a weed smoking young man to the extent that by 31st December 1981 many young people had taken up weed smoking because their hero purportedly smoked it.
“I had to move from school to school to explain it was negative propaganda. That is the extent to which some people in their quest to consolidate their power will go. They did not care that they were destroying the kids in their quest to destroy Rawlings.”
The former president urged students to be politically potent and ask serious questions of national political leaders and query them when they fail to make their voices heard on issues of global inequality and abuse of the vulnerable as is happening in Palestine and Yemen.
Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) also spoke about the damage of global warming and the need for young people to educate themselves adequately on its effects, stating it was necessary to re-cultivate the habit of tree planting to help ease the scourge of global warming.
Other speakers at the event were former Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Lawra, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor and popular newscaster and television presenter, Nana Aba Anamoah.