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General News
Rawlings Reads Riot Act To Kufuor’s Delegation 2/19/2007
FORMER PRESIDENT Jerry John Rawlings yesterday rejected an open invitation from President John Agyekum Kufour to partake in the activities of the upcoming Ghana@50 Celebration, describing the offer as too late for him to play any positive role.

A very core member of the Rawlings’ delegation which met the government’s delegation at yesterday’s meeting at the Ridge residence of the former President told the Gye Nyame Concord that the former president sees the timing as too close for him to use just two weeks to play any meaningful role in the Independence Day celebration.

The source also told this paper that Rawlings insisted on the fulfilment of certain conditions before Kufuor’s invitation could be considered by him.

Among his conditions were a number of demands that he felt the incumbent President must consider before he (Rawlings) would even think of joining in the celebration.

The demands, this paper was told, included Rawlings claims of injustices and political persecution against him, his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and members of his political party.

However, the source was not surprised about the event as earlier this month the former President had said in an interview he gave Reuters that there was nothing to celebrate on Ghana’s 50th anniversary because the freedom that was unleashed as a result of the revolt in 1981 and its creative energy have been destroyed by the ruling NPP.

“The stance of the ex-President serves as a big blow to government who wanted to use the occasion, which lasted about five hours, to foster reconciliation between the Rawlingses and President Kufour”, Gye Nyame Concord was told.

“If they had continued from where we left off, Ghana would be flying so sky high,” Rawlings had said in the Reuters interview, adding that “the water in my toilet tank is much cleaner than the water that the majority of our rural folks are drinking.”

Rawlings also said in that interview that “from a tactical point of view, I would not be so stupid as to give them the opportunity to enjoy a so-called reconciliation with Rawlings.”

At the close of the marathon session at the Ridge residence yesterday, Mr Alban Sumani Kinsford Bagbin, told the expectant press that although he could not divulge details of the meting to the media, he believed that the event was fruitful.

“It was open, it was frank, it was candid and at least people were allowed to express their opinions freely”, he confirmed.

He said he believed the concerns that were raised would receive government attention to help build a united nation where “we all live as brothers and sisters, where we all focus to develop this nation”.

He pointed out that the President’s delegation has promised to carry their concerns to President Kufuor while they wait for further instructions.

When the leader of the government’s delegation, Prof Adjei Bekoe, who is the Chairman of the Council of State, took the microphone to address the expectant journalists, he said; “Our mission was quite simple, it was to update the former President on the state of preparations for the country’s 50th anniversary celebration”.

He continued: “We ended it with an invitation from the President to him as a former President to at his pleasure attend all the activities of the Golden Jubilee celebration without any limitation”.

He added that the two groups took their time to discuss a lot of other issues and that “as a delegation of government we have to report back to government before any public pronouncement could be made on the details of the meeting”.

President Rawlings’ team included members of the NDC Council of Elders, Mr Harry Sawyer, Dr Mary Grant, NDC flagbearer Prof Mills, NDC Chairman Dr Kwabena Adjei, General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Minority Leader Alban Bagbin, Mr Ohene Kena, Deputy Minority Leader Doe Adjaho, Party Propaganda Secretary Fiifi Kwetey, Lawyer Tony Lithur, as well as Rawlings’ Special Aide Mr Victor Smith.

The government’s delegation was led by Council of State Chairman Prof Adjei Bekoe, with Rev Paul Fynn, Chief Imam Shiekh Nuhu Sharubutu, Council of State members Madam Ama Busia, Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Mrs Emma Mitchel and Prof Miranda Greenstreet.


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