Former President Jerry John Rawlings has dismissed accusations that he has changed, stating that it is rather those who have changed and retrogressed in the National Democratic Congress’ values who are the ones throwing most stones at him.
In a keynote address delivered at a conference of cadres and activists of the revolution in Kumasi on Saturday, the former President criticised the manner affairs of the party had been monopolised by over-monetisation and questioned whether that was democracy.
“And we say it’s democracy? When money is at play? How can I be the founder of such a party? This thing was borne out of fire,” the former President bemoaned, adding that while some money was necessary for politics, “It should not be used to destroy the moral fabric of a situation.
“I didn’t come here to give you indigestion. I want you to also know and understand where I come from. I am not the one who has shifted. Meanwhile, those who have changed and declined and gone down are the ones who are throwing the most stones at us,” he said.
Flt Lt Rawlings questioned the strategy of some of the current leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in latching onto power ostensibly to contest the 2020 elections when they knew their plan was actually to vie competitively rather for the 2024 elections.
He said these leaders did not envisage and believe that it will be possible to defeat the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2020, but did not want to also allow anyone to try their hands at combatting 2020.
The former President in an hour-long extempore address added that the agenda by these leaders had always been to wait till 2024 when they expect the NPP to be weak on account of hitting their natural eight-year trough, because it’s not easy to wrestle it (power) from these people in their so-called midterm stride.
The former President, while counselling his party to tread carefully in some of its actions, also took time to take on some NPP appointees stating that they should not be in office when serious corruption allegations had been made against them. He mentioned the Board Chairman of the Ghana Water Company, who was still in office at a time when serious allegations had been made against him over-inflation of contractual figures and called for his interdiction pending the outcome of thorough investigations by the relevant investigative institutions.
Touching on the Ghana Immigration Service, Flt Lt Rawlings also questioned the appointment of the current Comptroller when allegations levelled against him years ago had not been officially investigated. He said though a court has ruled that he should be reinstated with his benefits after the Service failed to investigate the allegations within a reasonable time frame, no effort had subsequently been made to interrogate the issues and bring final closure to the allegations of irregularity and misconduct.
He said the Comptroller should have nevertheless instituted a probe to exonerate himself and identify those who were culpable in the alleged Chinese visa scandal. He called for a competent team to be put in place to investigate the matter however late in the day.
The appointing authority, he stated, can appoint some of the numerous highly-qualified senior officers of solid integrity while the pending matter is thoroughly investigated.
If the Armed Forces is on the march to ensure that officers comport themselves with the highest of standards, there is no reason or excuse for the other services not to do the same.
Any crooks and/or personnel in positions of authority exposed by institutional investigations as having been corrupted by the power and authority they wield, must be thrown out and treated with the contempt they deserve, before such institutions imbibe their deformed characters.
The former President said while President Akufo-Addo has gone to make peace with the Andanis and Abudus, “I see it as peace, however, not without partial justice. It means when you are sleeping, you should sleep with only one eye.”
He said when he used to urge former President Mills to investigate the Ya Na’s demise he was trying to make him understand that nobody or organization should have the power to take human life without just cause.
Touching on the recently held parliamentary primaries of the NDC, the party founder said one of the candidates in the primaries knew very well that the chiefs and people had lost confidence in him, because they gave him a very cold reception whilst the other aspirant was received respectfully and with warmth.
“This MP is not only very disrespectful but is also very abusive using his mouth for acidic violence. Most of these people are born with acid between their teeth,” he said.
The former President said the leadership of the NDC should have demonstrated appropriate sensitivity to the chiefs and people and asked that MP to step aside rather than pumping in more money and using his colleague MPs and other executives. After all the power and authority to offer him an appointment as a non-MP was within his grasp, he added.
Flt Lt Rawlings said when he had a similar situation on his hands over the arrogance of the late Clend Sowu's refusal to step aside for the preferred candidate in the person of Ambassador Victor Gbeho, he had no choice but to ask him to go independent than to lose that seat completely. In another instance, when his advice to three Greater Accra MPs were ignored, because they had lost touch with the reality of how the support base felt about them, all three of them lost their seats to the opposition.
The National Cadres Conference which was held under the theme: “Effective Mobilisation for Victory 2020: The Role of Cadres”, was chaired by Professor Joshua Alabi. Other speakers at the event were Comrades Kweku Mortey and Goosie Tanoh.