THE ANIMOSITY that exists between President John Agyekum Kufuor and his predecessor, Jerry John Rawlings may be far from over, as the former president insists the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is victimizing him and his followers.
Fuming with rage, Mr. Rawlings particularly mentioned the trial of his wife, Nana Konadu, by the state, and the recent incarceration of Tsastu Tsikata to buttress his claim that President Kufuor's administration was persecuting members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“Putting my wife on trial for false charges, and jailing noble men like Tsatsu Tsikata and Ibrahim Adams after their good works for the country buttresses my claim that the NPP government is victimizing us”.
Sounding embittered, the former military dictator verbally hacked the President and members of his government, accusing them of derailing the country from the path to glory charted by the NDC before it left office in January 2001.
Mr. Rawlings, in a recorded interview with Hello FM in Kumasi aired on Saturday, pummeled President Kufuor from all angles with a barrage of insults and insinuations.
His lackey, Kofi Adams was at hand to straighten up things when Mr Rawlings veered off, with occasional interjections in the one hour interview.
Virtually showing no respect to authority, the former President referred to his successor and members of his administration as a bunch of 'characters' and 'liars' who in 2000 intoxicated the electorate with lies to win the presidency.
According to him, President Kufuor and his cohorts who in 2000 were penniless, succeeded by fabricating series of lies to snatch political power from the NDC, adding that the President had been a bad leader since assuming office eight years ago.
“When you are not a man of principles of certain morals then you will make a very bad president and that is exactly what Kufuor and his people are”.
Still referring to President Kufuor as a liar, Mr. Rawlings enumerated countless occasions that the president “peddled lies against me both home and abroad just to tarnish my reputation”.
He began by alleging that “Kufuor has degraded himself to the extent that when he met my colleague former Head of States he told them that as soon as I left office I collected suitcases loaded with monies to Swiss Banks.
“Secondly, he accused me of stealing 13 cars from the state. To add to that, he accused me of plotting to assassinate him”, Rawlings fumed and stated that those who knew him (Rawlings) well knew that these were all false accusations intended to tarnish his image.
He described the NPP as being better than the NDC only when it came to coming out with propaganda. “Even when we were in power they were better than us and still continue to be ahead of us in terms of propaganda.
“A critical example is that they know wellthat those who heinously murdered the three judges and the army officer during the PNDC era were dealt with according to the law but they still accused us of doing nothing about it, thereby making us look bad in the public domain”.
Still attacking President Kufuor, he said the speed with which the President ordered for the release of about 2000 Warrant Officers who had served for almost 30 years, gave credence to the fact that he hated the military.
This action on the part of President Kufuor, he noted, had made many army personnel regret voting for the NPP government.
“Some of the soldiers, speaking in Twi, said in the Late Omaboe's (Oyeeman Wireko Ampem) house that 'ya to aba bone'.”
Asked about whether he achieved his vision for the country whilst in power, Mr. Rawlings said, “It was my vision to provide good health, potable drinking water, roads and electricity, and I achieved them all even including more others”.
On his mood when leaving office, he noted, “I left office with a bit of anxiety because of the pack of lies that the NPP used to campaign and the false promises they gave the people”.
He lamented that the gains the NDC made whilst in power were not being consolidated by the NPP government, insisting, Ghana could have been better had the NDC won the 2000 elections.
“Whilst I talk about love, education and a host of other developmental issues for the country, the NPP under Kufuor uses coercive means to put fear into the people”, he alleged, adding that NDC ruled with patriots whilst the NPP was ruling with mercenaries.
On his impressions of the upcoming polls, he said, “The NPP rigged the 2004 elections and are planning to do same”; but was quick to state that this time around the ruling party would not succeed.
“This time the NPP will be pitching its strength against the entire nation and not the NDC alone and it will not be easy for them to rig the polls this time”.
As to whether he had plans to topple the government via military coup, he answered in the negative, adding that he believed in empowering the individual.
About why he invited some ex-military officers to his house recently, he reluctantly answered: “I invited them for us to discuss how to prevent some of the plans and plots of this government”, asking the interviewer not to talk about that issue again.
Considering the warm reception accorded him in the Ashanti region during his campaign tour, he stated that come what may the NDC would emerge winners in the polls, stressing, “The NPP do not have anywhere to call its stronghold again”.
From Fred J.A. Ibrahim Jnr., & Morgan Owusu, Kumasi