President Jerry John Rawlings says it is his integrity and abhorrence for thievery and lying that ensured that he stayed in office for almost nineteen years.
“I did not come to public office to steal and never did. We had to go through a lot of sacrifices to get to today as a country, and there’s no way I was going to compromise on my integrity,” the former President said, when a delegation of Chiefs and Queenmothers from the Ave Traditional Area in the Volta Region, called on him on Wednesday.
Flt Lt Rawlings said it was unfortunate some abandoned the positive principles along the way in spite of the fact that, “we won all our elections and survived some of the most trying times of our nation’s history for as long as we did, bringing hope and relief to our people because of those solid values and principles.”
“What has sustained some of us is our attachment to the principles of truth, justice and fair play – it is not a vulgar quest for materialism, a trait which has sadly perpetuated itself into the leadership structures of our society,” the former President stated.
Touching on what went wrong, former President Rawlings said the mass of political testosterone that swirled around the National Democratic Congress (NDC) victory in 2008 evaporated when the Mills government failed to thoroughly re-investigate political killings such as the assassination of the Yaa Naa and the death of Alhaji Issa Mobilla, then Northern Regional Chairman of the CPP.
Former President Rawlings said the refusal to reinstate truth, transparency and most of all justice into the fabric and psyche of the nation led to the institutionalization of crime and corruption, eventually resulting in NDC’s electoral loss of 2016.
Touching on the recent book by Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, the former President said it was unfortunate that matters involving the late President Mills had been twisted to make him look bad, stating that days after then Candidate Mills traveled to South Africa for treatment after his nomination in 2006, “he called me one mid-morning to say he could not continue and that he wanted to step aside. I asked him to wait till he returns and I also sought to know if he had mentioned this to anyone. He was silent and did not answer so I assumed that he might have done so. The next day or so, I invited the elders, some former ministers and other seniors for a meeting during which I attempted to put across the condition of the Professor without being specific.
“Towards the end of the meeting, I did however suggest that names of presidential hopefuls should be floated. The point is, the NDC party was looking visually and politically vulnerable while the NPP looked like a party with more presidential potentials than it could handle or contain. These were my personal observations. My next intervention was to ask who came second at the last congress. I was not sure whether it was Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu or Dr. Spio Garbrah. I did not know or think that an attempt to ensure that we were prepared for any eventuality would cause an affront to his handlers.
“The following day or so, I spoke to Ato Ahwoi on the phone insisting that they must publicize names of presidential potentials and hopefuls amongst our people and to include their own names – they the Ahwois. I later realised that they were preparing to receive Professor Mills with a huge crowd at the airport, which was okay for morale. But as the days went by, the language took on an unpleasant tone creating the impression I was up to some ill motive. The Prof arrived and was debriefed, I hear by his handlers and the meeting I was hoping and waiting for never took place. He was in the meantime being publicized in subsequent days doing a house-to-house campaign.
“In spite of the developments that took place, my wife and I did not hesitate to campaign vigorously towards the 2008 elections. After all I had backed Mills since 1998 and was not going to back down in the middle of a crucial election,” the former President concluded.
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