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16.02.2007 General News

JAK Invites Rawlings

JAK Invites Rawlings

Nine eminent citizens of the country yesterday took a decisive step towards national reconciliation and raised the prospect of President J. A. Kufuor and former President J. J. Rawlings celebrating the country's 50th milestone hand in hand.

Led by the Chairman of the Council of State, Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, the delegation acted on the mandate of President Kufuor with a special message for former President Rawlings to attend celebrations marking the country's 50th anniversary.

With the meeting having been behind closed doors, no immediate response emerged after the three-hour talks, as both sides provided very scanty information thereafter.

Other members of the presidential delegation included the Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, the Catholic Archbishop of Cape Coast, the Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev Dr Paul Fynn, the President of the National House of Chiefs, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, Ms Cecilia Bannerman, Ms Ama Busia, both members of the Council of State, Ms Emma Mitchel and Professor Mirinda Greenstreet.

Some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were at the residence of the former President to receive the delegation included the flag bearer of the party, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the Chairman of the party, Dr Kwabena Adjei, the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, a former Minister of State, Dr (Mrs) Mary Grant, a former Eastern Regional Chairman of the party, Mr Fred Ohene-Kena, and Mr James Victor Gbeho, a former minister.

Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, the wife of the former President, and some members of the Council of Elders of the NDC were also in attendance.

The three-hour closed-door meeting discussed other issues related to the country's development and unity.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Professor Adzei-Bekoe declined to comment on the details of the meeting but said the discussions had been “open and frank”.

He said the invitation extended to the former President was at his pleasure, adding that “it is an open invitation”.

He indicated that the delegation would report back to the President on the outcome of deliberations.

Professor Adzei-Bekoe declined to be drawn further into matters which came up at the meeting.

Mr Bagbin also described the meeting as open, frank and candid.

He said the issues raised by the Presidential delegation bordered on ways of exploring reconciliation and national development.

He expressed satisfaction with the high-powered delegation, particularly the presence of the high-profile religious leaders.

Pressed to comment on whether or not the former President would honour the invitation, Mr Bagbin said it was not for him to decide and that they were keenly watching the outcome of the delegation's report to the President.

A source told the Daily Graphic that the former President was very calm and occasionally cracked jokes which elicited profuse laughter from the gathering.

It described the atmosphere as lively, sincere and very healthy for the nation's progress and development.

Story by Timothy Gobah