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18.11.2002 General News

Akwasi Agyeman dodges Rawlings

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Former Kumasi Metropolitan Authority (KMA) boss and mayor of Kumasi, Nana Akwasi Agyeman, a one-time loyalist of ex-President Rawlings, last Wednesday did the incredible.

He avoided an encounter with his former boss and mentor, Jerry Rawlings, at the wake-keeping of the late Baffuor Osei Akoto, senior linguist of the Asantehene.

It all happened when the former President arrived at the forecourt of the deceased’s residence to join sympathisers at the wake-keeping. President John Kufuor has just left the scene and Nana Akwasi Agyeman was happily dancing to kete, a traditional music that was being played.

When ex-President Rawlings’ presence was announced, Nana Agyeman sneaked away, to the surprise of onlookers, to avoid any encounter- with his former mentor. Ex-President Rawlings was just about to be ushered in to express his condolence to the family when Agyeman did the disappearing act.

Last September, Nana Akwasi Agyeman announced his decision to root for his brother, President Kufuor, in election 2004, once his friend Rawlings’ two terms of office as President of Ghana had come to an end.

Even though there was no ‘boom’, the former President did cause quite a stir, as he moved the crowd, who greeted him with the NPP slogan ‘Asee ho’ wherever he moved to. At the St Peter’s Cathedral where a burial service was held for Baffuor Akoto last Thursday, there was an uneasy calm when it was announced that the ex-President wanted to give a speech.

The congregation feared a ‘boom’, but it never came, as Rawlings was eventually stopped from delivering such a speech. “This is no time for political speeches,” the former President was told.

Rawlings, however, paid a short tribute to the late Baffuor Osei Akoto, shook hands with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, before finally taking his seat far from the Ashanti king and President Kufuor.

Ex-President Rawlings was accompanied by his aide, Victor Smith, former Finance Minister Kwame Peprah, former Ashanti Regional Minister Daniel Ohene Agyekum, and a handful of bodyguards.

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