Former President Jerry John Rawlings has taken a swipe at his National Democratic Congress (NDC) – which government was removed through the ballot box last year – apparently tagging it as the most corrupt in the history of the country.
He told a visiting political delegation from Sierra Leone at his residence in Accra that the current New Patriotic Party government, led by President Akufo-Addo, has inherited a regime during which corruption permeated every fiber of society and will need the collaborative effort of everybody to bring the canker under control.
He urged the current political administration not to relent in its fight against corruption, warning that its survival depends very much on corruption crusade.
“By the time this administration (NPP) came into office, the country was literally drowning in the practice of corruption with impunity. This administration has, therefore, inherited national corruption at its worst,” Mr. Rawlings told the delegation, led by former Sierra Leonean Vice President, Chief Samuel Sam-Sumana, at his Ridge residence recently.
“The current government owes its own survival to the anti-corruption crusade,” the former military ruler noted, explaining that some administrations, which found the ‘integrity level’ of the AFRC/PNDC too high and intimidating made it a point to corrupt some of the country’s institutions in order to survive.
He said the refusal of subsequent administrations, after his revolution, to contain and punish corruption, invariably provided the climate and opportunity for the problem to eat deeper into the fabric of the nation to the extent that one could only succeed by doing things the wrong way.
Mr Rawlings insisted that the revolution brought the best out of Ghanaians and recalled there were several efforts supported by Western powers to derail the process, including the deportation of one million Ghanaians from Nigeria under President Shehu Shagari’s administration.
“The expectation was that the revolution would have to be collapsed in order for Shagari to survive. Unfortunately, the revolution survived and Shagari had to go, unseated by General Buhari, who seemed slightly out of touch with the prevailing political climate and subsequently had to be unseated by General Babangida. We survived because the people felt they owned the process,” former President Rawlings underscored.
He said that until Ghanaians assumed the right, duty and responsibility to assist in confronting the fight against corruption, government would have a hard time fighting it alone.
He said the corruption he faced when he first came to power in 1979 was not as bad as what is being confronted in contemporary times.
Chief Sam-Sumana, who was dismissed under controversial circumstances in 2015, informed the former president that his delegation comprised leaders drawn from several political groups in Sierra Leone and the Diaspora who had decided to come together as a coalition to contest the next election.
The former vice president said the group recognized President Rawlings’ ideals and desire to see a better Africa, describing him as a man who served as the foundation for the renewed development of Ghana after the demise of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
“We look up to you as a role model because of the peace and stability you brought not only to Ghana but to Sierra Leone and Liberia during your tenure as Head of State,” Chief Sam-Sumana underscored.