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27.09.2004 General News

I’m Not Interested In Presidency — Rawlings

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings has made it clear that he is not interested in the Presidency after ruling for almost two decades. In an apparent reference to claims in certain circles that he intended to disrupt the democratic dispensation, he said " having ruled this country for 19 years, he was tired and wanted to engage in other human endeavours. Addressing a well-attended rally in Cape Coast to kick-start the Election 2004 campaign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Flt Lt. Rawlings said, "I want a break, but let us work hard and win the December polls and after that I shall go to the countryside to open your eyes".

He explained that after the NDC had won the elections, he would visit the countryside to tell the people about the problems that had been created by the Kufuor administration.Former President Rawlings said as a result of the failure of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, its functionaries had manufactured all kinds of cock and bull stories that mercenaries were planning to invade Ghana.

He observed that in order to give credence to this diabolical agenda, the government had deployed security personnel to Buduburam, searched the houses of Lt Col Gbevlo-Lartey and Danny Ofori-Atta, to create the impression that "Rawlings was up to disturb the security of the state".Former President Rawlings described the moves by the NPP government as old tricks intended to create a spectre of insecurity just like what happened during the serial killing of women a few years ago.

He alleged that the Kufuor administration had taken all steps to rig the December polls as a result of the painful realisation that power was slipping through their hands. According to him, the government attempted to register voters living abroad and had to put the idea on hold because of the vigilance of the Minority in Parliament and other groups.

Former President Rawlings said currently there were about 700,000 registered voters who had not taken their photographs and expressed regret that the seriousness with which the registration exercise was conducted in Ashanti Region, the stronghold of the NPP, was different from the way the exercise was handled in the Volta and Greater Accra regions.

He noted that the NPP government had no respect for activists of the NDC because of the support "you gave to the revolution".Former President Rawlings said the appeal being made by President J.A. Kufuor and his supporters to the party to give them another mandate to finish their agenda was untenable because "in 1979, the AFRC used just three months to put the country back on track because the AFRC had a sense of purpose".

He said when the PNDC took over the reins of government in 1982, it knew what it was about and set itself the task to transform the society, saying that the “Kufuor administration did not need another mandate to misrule the country.”Former President Rawlings, therefore, called on the people to be ready to paddle Prof J.E.A. Mills to victory in the December elections in order that the NDC could continue with its human centred policies.

He observed that there was a generation who did not know what happened in the past and warned supporters of the party not to allow the golden opportunity to wrest power slip through their fingers because as he put it, "if it did, you might not get a government of vision again". Former President Rawlings said by the behaviour of the NPP government,it wanted the country to get rotten again and said through the hard work of the activists " your victory match in December 7, 2004 will be a match for freedom and justice."

He accused the government of trying to dismantle all the good things the NDC did such as by creating a sense of nationalism among the people, alleging that even now the NPP had introduced ethnicity into the security apparatus. Former President Rawlings described the flag bearer of the NDC, Prof Mills, as a gentleman but added "when he shouts, it is like thunder".

He said the forthcoming ballot was not just a competition between parties but a competition to ensure justice, as well as remove a repressive government from power and have in its place a regime with a human face.Former President Rawlings accused the Kufuor administration of abusing the rights of the people, saying that unless the government respected the right of the people, there could not be progress.

He also described the NPP government as a ruthless regime that jailed Ibrahim Adam, Yankey and Kwame Preprah for serving their country and observed that this was the best time to use every peaceful means to remove the NPP from power.