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27.01.2009 Politics

Rawlings barks, Mills sacks

By The Statesman
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Less than 24 hours after former President Rawlings called for the immediate dismissal of security chiefs appointed by the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Prof John Atta Mills has fired the Inspector General of Police, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, and the Chief of Defense Staff, Major General J B Danquah.

A statement signed by J K Bebarko-Mensah, Secretary to the President, Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, Deputy IGP in charge of Administration, is to act as IGP, while Chief of naval Staff Rear Admiral A R S Nunoo acts as Chief of Defense Staff.

The dismissed officers were told at separate meetings with Prof Mills.

Rawlings, after a visit to the Kotoka International Airport last Friday where he said he observed security lapses, called for the immediate removal of security chiefs, whom he said had been allowed to overstay their "welcome' in the new administration.

According to the former president, the continued presence of Mr. Acheampong and the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General JB Danquah, did not augur well for the new administration.

In an interview with Joy Correspondent, Seth Kwami Boateng on Thursday, aired yesterday morning, Mr. Rawlings said it was risky to leave those commanders at post when the soldiers and officers had lost faith in them.

'It seems as if Kufuor is the only person who's been removed but the oppressive machinery is still intact,' he lamented.

Mr. Rawlings insisted some of those security chiefs deserved to be 'arrested, suspended, interdicted or at least be made to proceed on leave', but failed to identify them, nor the crimes for which they had to be prosecuted.

He alleged some of the Commanders were prosecuting people perceived to be sympathisers of the NDC, and called on President Mills to act fast.

He chided the Mills transition team for being too 'gentlemanly' in dealing with appointees of the Kufuor administration, saying, 'we are dealing with a government that misconducted itself.'

Watchers of the Ghanaian political scene have not minced words in reiterating the fact that Mills can never be his own man as he had claimed on countless occasions to be.

'Events have begun to unfold as a confirmation that President Mills cannot be his own man. Has he not acted upon the directive of ex-President Rawlings as some of us kept saying he would?' wondered a political giant whose name is being withheld for now.

'There is no way Rawlings is going to be silent in the Mills administration. He will definitely be dictating the pace either overtly or covertly; after all, he is the founder of the NDC. He it was who brought Mills to fame by making him his, I mean Rawlings" vice president. And once this military dictator is still alive, how can he give Atta Mills free hands to operate?' he added.