Former President Jerry John Rawlings has showered praises on his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, describing her as ‘a noble woman’ who fought to bring the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) this far.
He encouraged the former First Lady ‘not to give up’ her ambition to lead the newly-formed National Democratic Party (NDP), a party that has been disqualified from contesting this year’s presidential election.
“I want to assure her that even if it doesn’t work this time, her party has the qualities, the integrity that others will come back to; what the others don’t have,” Mr Rawlings said.
The NDP has been formed by disgruntled members of the ruling NDC and Mrs. Rawlings was elected as the party’s flag-bearer.
However, when she attempted to file her papers to contest the presidential election scheduled for December 7, 2012, she was disqualified by the Electoral Commission, compelling the newly-formed party to seek redress at the Human Rights Court.
Even before the court decides the fate of the NDC breakaway party, the NDP is running a series of radio commercials selling the credentials of Mrs Rawlings why Ghanaians should vote for her.
Addressing the Freedom Lectures on corruption, organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) in Accra on Wednesday evening, the NDC founder said, “I am not even talking in favour of the most noble woman here and her party that they are attempting to disqualify.
“For me, I see this party (NDP) as the party of the future. That is not to say that she should give up. This woman never gives up. A lot of them in the NDC know the role she played,” the former president said of his wife who is now seen as a political turncoat.
Mr Rawlings, who is the NDC founder, expressed faith in the NDP as “a party of the future” and it had the “qualities, the integrity that the others [political parties] don’t have.”
Bemoaning corruption that has permeated every fibre of the society, the former military leader said, “It is this willingness to tolerate the intolerable that gives the motivation or momentum for persons or institutions with influence to perpetuate acts of corruption within our society.”
He questioned the decision by MPs to award themselves salary increase in the face of difficult economic conditions and added that while the MPs had sought to justify the increment by referring to the fact that individuals in their constituencies besieged their offices daily to seek some financial support, the real solution did not lie in doing charity work.
The former president, known for pulling no punches, waded into the controversial judgment debt debate, saying, “It is clear that the Woyome case led to the exposure of multiple payments in millions to various individuals and organisations in what is now popularly referred to as the judgment debt saga.”
“It is strongly argued and perceived that some have demanded and received payments under fraudulent circumstances, with the excuse that contracts have been blatantly abrogated by a previous government and monies owed to individuals or organisations have been left outstanding for unholy lengths of time.
“It is also perceived that some members of government have quietly turned into front men for some of these aggrieved institutions and played influential roles in seeking out of court settlements leading to huge payments,” he added.
“Why did we allow the state to face so much legal pressure from individuals and organisations seeking compensation for so-called abrogated contracts, unpaid contractual fees and a host of others?” he quizzed.
Flt. Lt. Rawlings, the first president under the fourth Republic asked, “Why have we allowed the processes of state, as pertains to the award of contracts and subsequent payments, to be hijacked by political authority without due recourse to an institution of state that is independent of political influence?”
The retired Air Force officer called on President John Mahama, who once served as a Minister of Communications under him, to take steps to halt the private development of the lands situated opposite the 37 Military Hospital and use it rather to expand that health facility.
He also commended President Mahama for stopping the proposed sale of Merchant Bank.
However, DAILY GUIDE has learnt that at the time former President Rawlings was delivering his lecture, a team of officials of Merchant bank had just returned from South Africa where it met with the First Rand bank officials to seal a deal to sell the ailing bank.
Greet Muslims On Eid ul-Adha
Meanwhile, Mr Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu, yesterday, sent a message of goodwill to Muslims on the occasion of the Eid ul-Adha festival.
A statement from the office of the former President in Accra congratulated Muslims for the successful conclusion of the Hajj pilgrimage.
It called on all Muslims to use the period of sacrifice to pray for peace and unity as the country drew closer to the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The statement said: “Our dear brothers and sisters, as we pray, perform sacrifices and celebrate, let us seek guidance from Allah to protect us during this electoral season so we come out of the process successfully.”
It called on Ghanaians to join hands across all religious and political divides to ensure incident-free elections.