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Crime & Punishment | Nov 18, 2004

JJ should be tried for assaulting late Arkaah - Effah-Dartey

Chronicle

THE DEPUTY Minister of Local and Rural Government, Captain (Rtd) Nkrabea Effah-Dartey has fumed at the former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings for the excesses of the defunct Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and the alleged assault of the late Mr. Kow Nkensen Arkaah, the ex-vice President.

According to him, the former President should be arrested and tried for assaulting his former vice-President at the Castle.

Capt. Nkrabea-Dartey, who described Rawlings as a 'violent man' and accused him of leaving a legacy of indiscipline and bad governance said, "In fact, Rawlings should be arrested and tried for assaulting former Vice President Arkaah," adding that though he was not arrested and tried at the time it happened, there was no time bar for a crime, " because if you commit an offence, you can be arrested and tried for that until you die."

The Minister disclosed this to The Chronicle in an interview at the campaign launch of Ms. Theresa Ameley Tagoe, NPP parliamentary candidate for Ablekuma South constituency on Tuesday at the Karikari Park at Dansoman-Agege.

Reacting to the roles that he played in the administration of the PNDC and whether President Kufuor should have been subpoenaed by the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), he said: "What I am saying is that Rawlings is personally responsible for bad governance. He is personally responsible for excesses at the Castle. He is personally responsible for giving bad example to the Ghanaian youth. He is the cause of indiscipline in this country."

He denied assertions that he was answerable for some of the atrocities of the PNDC regime. "I Effah-Dartey am not answerable to any of the atrocities of the PNDC. I can defend everything that I did at the National Investigations Committee (NIC)."

He mentioned Mr. Sam Awortwi, now a top police officer at the police headquarters as the chairman of the NIC, Prof. Kofi Awoonor, E.K Mawuenyegah among others, all of who are alive and could testify to what he did.

According to the NPP MP for Berekum, the former President, at one time, chased a taxi driver openly and upturned the taxi at the Osu Mobil traffic light.

"This is in the records of this country. It is a fact that he is a violent man. He slapped and beat up his own Vice President."

Asked why Rawlings was not arrested and tried at the time, he said Mr. Rawlings was the President at the time, so nothing could be done and claimed if it were to be in the USA, he (Rawlings) would have been arrested and tried for assault.

According to the MP, matters of assault and atrocities were dealt with at the NRC whose report had been presented to the president to issue a white paper on it. "We will see what will be done after the report," he said.

Asked to explain the motive for blaming the atrocities of the PNDC on Prof. Mills who was not a member of that administration, Effah-Dartey screamed: "I have never made such allusions to Prof. Mills. But I attribute NDC's excesses to Mills because he was the vice President for that regime for four years.

For the four years between 1997-2000 when Mills was the Vice President of this country, he had a golden opportunity to influence the cause of history; he had the chance to do things that would change things that were happenings but he didn't."

He alleged that Prof Mills only sat at the cabinet meetings and closed his eyes to the excesses of Rawlings.

On the activities of the PNDC, Capt. Nkrabea-Dartey said, "I have always been saying that it is very dangerous to make a generalization. It is very bad to say that everybody who was in the PNDC was a murderer or that everybody in the NPP is a saint. It is not like that," sermonizing that, "out of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, one of them betrayed him" so one could not say all of them were Christians.

On the roles played by President Kufuor, Major Courage Quarshigah and himself, the vocal Deputy Minister had this to say: "J.A Kufuor was a member of the third parliament for PFP and after the coup of 31st, was made PNDC Secretary for Local Government.

"After working for six months as the PNDC Secretary for Local Government, he resigned and so if you want to find out about Kufuor, go to Local Government for the six months that he worked there and see whether he did something wrong or bad."

He said Mr. Kufuor was not answerable for any excesses because he resigned when he realized that things were not well with the government.

"In my case, I was a soldier, I was a lieutenant and was secretary of the National Investigation Committee. My job was to interview the politicians and ministers and recommend those who should be sent to court and those to be released. So if you want to find out whether I committed atrocity or not, you go to the records at the National Investigative Committee."

"Major Courage Quarshigah was the operations officer of the PNDC regime up to the point of 1991 when he was arrested and if you want to find out whether he was part and parcel of any exercise of .. so you see it is dangerous to make a blanket statement."

He described the NDC Presidential Candidate as being desperate. "Mills is desperate because he knows that his party would be drowned massively in the forthcoming elections. A desperate man would want to cling to anything, even a straw."

He said everything Prof. Mills said at this moment should not be taken serious, because he had lost touch with reality, adding that if he would be honest to himself, he would admit that the receptions that he had been getting when he went round the country comprised mainly of children. "He must realize that the end is near for him politically," he said.

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