Felix Odartey-Wellington, son of one-time Army Commander, Maj. Gen Neville Alexander Odartey-Wellington, has described as “ananse tales” or ruses, the recent effusions of former President Jerry John Rawlings about the events leading to the murder of his father.
Felix's reaction from faraway Canada comes in the wake of the recent re-emergence of contradictory stories about the buying of 'yoke gari' or beans and gari on credit by Mr. Rawlings prior to the June 4 uprising in 1979 and the subtle warning to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to stay clear of the subject.
General Odartey-Wellington was gunned down by goons loyal to Jerry Rawlings during the heady days of the AFRC at the Nima Police Station. The NDC founder said recently that the former Army Chief was killed because of the 'yoke gari' saga.
Felix Odartey-Wellington repeated his description of Mr. Rawlings as a conman in a press statement issued from Toronto, Canada. Felix had called Rawlings a conman during a Break Fast Show programme on GTV and was subsequently picked up by Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and nearly stripped naked in the twilight of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, whereupon he left the country for South Africa and later to Canada where he has been ever since.
Following a narration of the story about his father's murder by Rawlings recently, Felix condemned the presentation as lies, re-echoing his prior description of the former Air Force pilot as a conman.
From his Toronto base he fired a reaction sneering at Rawlings' incessant reference to his father's murder during the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta which he headed, expressing disgust at what for him is the un-Ghanaian detailed narration about the sordid action by the former president.
“It is bizarre and un-Ghanaian that Rawlings insists on treating Ghanaians to the atrocious details of my father's death,” he said.
Felix said he finds it bizarre that after several years at the helm of the country, “Rawlings finds it necessary to tell Kwaku Ananse stories about why he used to buy food on credit during his days as a young air force officer”.
He recalled that sometime past the former president pointed at his food crediting practices as proof of hardship that necessitated the bloody coup of 1979.
It is regretful, he pointed out, that from Rawlings' recent confessions, he and his confederates were “willing to shed blood simply because of a perceived insult by my father”.
Equating Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime with what he called the Rawlings-instigated orgy of violence, he noted that this dealt more with purely personal issues relating to the former president's sense of inadequacy and inferiority complex “and not the oft-touted need for 'revolutionary justice'”.
He pointed out that while it is possible to dismiss Rawlings' recent comments about his late father as one of the former president's usual petulant attention-seeking rants, “these recent representations are frighteningly consistent with the posture of his party as a whole”.
Besides religiously celebrating what he described as the bloodbaths of June 4th and 31st December and their legacies, “Rawlings' despicable comments about my father have been repeated by other leading members of his party such as Samuel Nuamah Donkor who should know better”.
Rawlings and his cohorts, he charged, have perversely profited handsomely from the evil they perpetrated, adding that they should be content with that.
He observed that ironically, his father, who could have effectively defended his honour against “their insensitive and puerile slandering, is not alive precisely because of the senseless violence unleashed by Rawlings in 1979”.
Pointing to what he considers yet another irony is the fact that today Rawlings and his confederates have the benefit of the courts and mass media to defend them, and to reproduce an ideology of violence and hate.
He asked that his father's memory be left alone.
The recent mention of the slain Gen. Odartey-Wellington by Mr. Rawlings under non-discreet circumstances was the umpteenth.
In one of his populist speeches a few years ago he said of the execution of some heads of state and General Odartey-Wellington thus: “(They) were sprayed like mosquitoes”.
While defending the executions in one breath, he in another describes the circumstances under which the actions took place as beyond his control.
The recent bout of references to the murder of Gen. Odartey-Wellington was ignited when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took a swipe at Rawlings by referring to his crediting of 'yoke gari' during the period preceding the June 4 coup by Other Ranks in the military.
Incensed by the reference, Rawlings warned the NPP flag bearer to stay clear of the subject because it was such a reference by Gen Odartey-Wellington which according to him led angry soldiers to kill him.
He said, “One of the Generals got badly mauled down. They sprayed him with bullets and he stopped. He was called Odartey-Wellington and was at that time, after the 15th May mutiny when we were arrested, going round the units and sort of messing up my name. One of the allegations he used was that I was a useless officer who could not even afford a meal and that I was doing so and so.
“Meanwhile the soldiers he was talking to came from those units and they knew what happened. He was invoking and provoking hatred against himself with that kind of story. No wonder when the country exploded on June 4th he was one person who died terribly even though he was one of the fine ones among that corrupt lot”.
Rawlings claimed that he carried the coffin of the deceased soldier when he was going to be buried- a claim belied by Felix, who described the former president as a conman.
The Office of the former President through Kofi Adams, it would be recalled, stated that it was not as if Rawlings did not have money to buy the yoke gari but that he could not carry notes on him because he was jogging and feared the notes could get wet.
By A.R. Gomda