The government says it is too familiar with former President Jerry John Rawlings as a coup addict to treat lightly, his comments about perceived misrule, economic hardships and corruption in the country.
Information and National Orientation Minister Kwamina Bartels has told the media at a press conference that the former President had indeed given the warning that if things were to continue in their current state, he would stage a coup.
“Ex-President Rawlings is known in this country as a serial coup maker involved in three coups, one of which failed. In 1979 he handed over power to the late President Hilla Limann. Thereafter all his actions and statements indicated that he was planning a coup, but whenever he was asked he swore to high heavens that he never was involved in anything in that nature.
“Well ladies and gentlemen we all have the history of Rawlings' second coming which brought in the PNDC era to guide us. Those of us who can remember know that he is indeed a serial coup maker. Ex-President Rawlings has earned the reputation of delivering a 'boom' speech threatening a coup every time he has a problem with government.
“From the experiences of the Limann era, he has always made such statements to prepare the ground for what he knows to do best, organising a coup. Nobody in this country who has had the experience of Rawlings from 1979 to date or who has made even a cursory study of Ghana's history would make the mistake of believing that given the chance the ex-President would not organise another coup. The pattern has been always clear.
“In any case President Rawlings has made it categorically clear that he doesn't believe in the democratic process as we are experiencing now and this is a position he has never repented from. In fact despite his loud protestations and denials of intent during his discourse in London he made a categorical statement. He said and I quote, 'If the lies, atrocities and corruption that has bedeviled the Kufuor government in Ghana continued, there would be a coup to arrest the injustice going on.'”
“This, my dear friends, is what Rawlings is reported to have said in answer to a question by one Nana Sefa-Twum of Kasapa FM in London. The question stands: who was going to organise the coup d'etat that he spoke of?” The press conference was to address issues raised against the government by former President Rawlings last week, which was also to address an accusation of a coup plot leveled by President Kufuor.
Mr. Bartels said the government was surprised by former President Rawlings' conclusion that because President Kufuor accused him of soliciting for funds from an oil-rich country to carry out the coup, it must be from a Middle Eastern country. He said the conclusion is strange because President Kufuor never mentioned even a country or region where Rawlings had gone to seek for funds.
“There are oil-rich countries in North America, South America, West and Central Africa, the Indonesian Peninsular and the Middle East. Is it the case of someone having eaten the head and brains of a baboon and having nightmares?”
Bartels said Rawlings' unfortunate conclusion was “a most disingenuous attempt at trying to generate conflict” between Ghana and the oil rich producing countries in the middle east who are very friendly to Ghana and have been very supportive of Ghana's developmental efforts.” He said his admission of calling on the military commanders to call the government to order is an attempt to incite them to rise against the government and create chaos to serve his interest.
Mr. Bartels said all world leaders hold President Kufuor in very high esteem and it was not true that President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair were whitewashing him.
“Most world leaders who have met President Kufuor admire and respect the president and having seen how in a short period of just about six years, he's been able to turn Ghana's economy around, instituted respect for human rights and observance of the rule of law and has deepened democratic rule in Ghana.
World leaders see the strides made in all facets of the life of Ghanaians such as the drop in inflation and interest rates, the rise on our strategic foreign exchange reserves, the stabilisation of the cedi, the enjoyment of freedom of speech and association, the absence of the harassment of political opponents and etc and are convinced that President Kufuor must be firmly on the right track.”
The Minister said the provision of fee-free education and free feeding for primary school pupils, free bus rides for pupils and the elderly as well as the national Health Insurance Scheme which usually are hallmarks of developed countries have earned the country the Millennium Challenge Account of which Ghana is the highest beneficiary.
He said while there had been no political detainees and kangaroo courts in the country under the current regime as pertained under Rawlings' rule and he has no business accusing falsely, the current administration.
He recounted (and with the aid of slides) a series of misdeeds under the PNDC era, including murders, flogging of women stripped naked, market women lined up to be burnt alive for hoarding provisions, which all became known as the 'culture of silence' era and questioned what moral justification Rawlings had to allege unfounded misdeeds in a peaceful era.