Lt. Col. John Lucas Abito, a former Commander of the 2nd Battalion of Infantry at Takoradi, in the Western Region and spokesperson for Peace Seekers International (PSI), an NGO, says former President Rawlings must be closely monitored because his recent meeting with the ex-security capos posed a threat to the security of the country.
He said, during the regime of Dr. Hilla Limann, similar meetings were held, which people took for granted, but to the amazement of the nation, Mr. Rawlings toppled the administration.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, by the Peace Seekers International (PSI), Lucas Abito also slammed the ex Security heads who attended the meeting, saying they should have known better. Their behaviour suggests that they perceive their loyalty towards Mr. Rawlings. This is a dangerous situation, which should not be allowed to become a regular practice.
The ex-officers should know that even after retiring from the service, their allegiance is with the constitution and to the State of Ghana. He emphasized that the National Security of this country was in the hands of the sitting President and his government, and that if the former President was unaware of the constitution, he must be educated about it.
According to him, since 2001, when Mr. Rawlings left office, he has been behaving like a rival President to President J.A. Kufour. To avoid what he described as a bad precedent and possible conflict, the spokesperson for the Peace Seekers International said it was imperative for the people of this nation to know the true constitutional and legal status of an ex-President.
“It is imperative because not only do we have a living ex President, but very soon and for the first time in our history, we are going to have two living former Presidents when President Kufuor completes his term of office.”
“Accusing Flt. Lt. Rawlings of doing everything possible to undermine the constitution and also to destabilize the democratic order in the country, Lt. Col. Abito reminded Ghanaians and the Armed Forces and Security agencies to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations, to uphold the constitution in the face of threats from any source whatsoever.”
Quoting Article 3 (3&4) to support his statement, the spokesperson for the Peace Seekers International, who did not speak against the political violence in the country, except to talk about the former President, averred that the era in which the military and police intervened in politics was over, and the nation should be like all other countries where true democracy is practiced.
Responding to questions, the members of the group were economical with their responses, with the reason that the former President harassed and arrested them.
According to them, they would not sit down unconcerned to allow Mr. Rawlings to topple the administration. Asked why Mr. Rawlings handed over peacefully if he was not a true democrat, Col. Abito said, “We know him. He handed over to Dr. Limann, but what happened later?”, he asked.
Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan Daa-Naa, the National Coordinator of the group, told this reporter, prior to the press conference that it was untenable that the former President should be complaining about abuses. “We do not hate Rawlings, but we are also not comfortable with the statements that he has been making. “He has been complaining about the incarceration of Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, but the fact still remains that Tsatsu Tsikata has been dully tried by the courts of the land, while under his regime, some of us were arrested, detained and imprisoned without any charge for a number of years.”
Accordingly, he said the issue of human rights abuse should be left to Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and John Mahama to talk about, because he (Rawlings) has no moral right to talk about abuses in this country. To him, Mr. Rawlings should be the last person to talk as far as human right abuses were concerned.
Ex-Corporal John K. Attipoe, who works in the office of the President and Mr. Godwin Ayiwora - all members of the PSI, said they suffered countless unlawful arrests and detentions from the former President and were later sent to Nsawam without trial, and that he must be told to shut up.
Ex-Corporal Attipoe, of the office of the President, urged the former President to check from Amnesty International about a book which catalogued the number of people that were traumatized under his regime. He recounted a number of people he alleged were killed during the regime of the NDC founder.
“Peace Seekers are for peace, just as the religious organisations are crying for peace, but if he thinks that he wants to be King Nebuchadnezer, then, the Almighty God will disgrace him one day.”