The minister for information, Mr. Dan Botwe, has challenged the authorities of the University of Development Studies to come clean and explain to the public everything surrounding the decision to suspend, cancel or reschedule the award of the honorary doctorate degree to former President Jerry Rawlings.
He said this would stop the speculation and allegations from various quarters against the Government for what it clearly has no hand in. “The Government has nothing to do with what is going on now and the earlier we heard from the university authorities the better it would be for all of us,” he emphasised.
“Those who are seeking to link the Government to the latest development have no basis to support this allegation of interference. “If Jerry Rawlings is being awarded at any given time and by a university for that matter, how does that affect the interest of the Government?” he asked.
Mr Botwe was reacting to comments on various FM stations on the issue, some of which alleged government complicity in the decision by the UDS council to postpone the ceremony, which was expected to come off on Saturday, March 19, 2005 at the Nyankpala campus of the university.
The academic board and council of the UDS had announced last week that in recognition of his career achievements, Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings was to be honored at a special graduation ceremony. Mr Rawlings, speaking through his special assistant and Director of public affairs, Victor E. Smith agreed to accept this recognition on behalf of all those who in diverse ways supported his efforts to bring social, economic and political development to our country.
Continuing, the information minister said the attribution of the reason for suspension to national security apparatus was also mischievous because “so far National Security has not expressed any security concerns at all.”
He asked: “Didn't Rawlings hold rallies and meetings and visitations in Tamale during the electioneering periods? And did it prompt the Government to stop him from moving about freely to any part of the country?”
Mr Botwe said those who wished to play politics with the issue could go ahead but the Government would not fall to any pranks to invite it into a media warfare on an issue which was clearly inconsequential as far as the problems that confront the nation were concerned.