Like the proverbial dog that only barks when the hyena is not around, former military strongman and ex-President Jerry John Rawlings could not marshal the needed courage to join his successor ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor, to mark Ghana’s 57th Independence Day celebration at the Independence Square last week Thursday.
To avoid eye-to-eye contact with the man he recently described as an “autocratic thief,” the former Air Force Pilot turned president, who is known for his daring nature and “boom” speeches, had to hurriedly storm out of the capital city to his native region, the Volta region where he ‘marked’ the independence day.
Information gathered by The Al-Hajj indicates that due to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) founder’s recent harsh description of Mr. Kufuor, which has worsen their until recently much improved relationship, the former never relish crossing path with his successor.
A source close to former President Rawlings disclosed to this paper that, he wouldn’t have honored invitation to the last State of the Nation Address delivered by President John Mahama if former President Kufuor had attended.
The source said, Mr Rawlings only agreed to honor the invitation when he was told his rival, Mr Kufuor was in faraway Paris, France for another equally important engagement and couldn’t therefore, have graced the event.
On this year’s independence anniversary which the source said, the NDC founder was invited to join President John Mahama, Mr Kufuor and other neighboring African Presidents to observe the day, Mr. Rawlings had to exclude himself from the Accra event to join the people of Sogakope in the South Tongue district in the Volta region in order to avoid meeting his colleague surviving former President, whom he has persistently and consistently bad mouthed.
Former President Rawlings until the eve of the 2012 election when he did not play any active role in his party’s campaign used unprintable words on former President Kufuor, who left office in 2009 following successful eight year tenure.
Relations between the two foremost statesmen was seen as improved in the run up to the last elections during which Rawlings for the first time, even met with the then opposition leader and Kufuor’s successor, Nana Akufo-Addo at his Ridge residence in Accra.
Even before then, former President Jerry Rawlings, together with two other former presidents, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Horst Köhler of Germany joined former president Kufuor to grace the formal launch of the Kufuor Foundation at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Enthused by the presence of his predecessor, Mr. Kufuor remarked “the presence of former President Rawlings shows how the foundation is determined to be non-partisan”.
But Rawlings, incorrigible as he is, in January this year revived his resentment for Mr Kufuor when he tagged him as ‘filthy’ corrupt, vowing that he would not allow the latter to sleep regardless of the numerous advice from well-meaning Ghanaians to him to stop the attacks.
Speaking as the guest of honour during the closing ceremony of the International Youth Fellowship-Volta Regional Camp at the Adidome Senior High School in the Volta Region, Mr Rawlings described the man he handed power to as “an autocratic thief” who endorsed corruption in all its forms.
He averred that “people keep saying that I should keep quiet on Kufuor. The day I begin to keep quiet on Kufuor, his image will become whitewashed. And he will use that stolen corrupt wealth to determine the political destiny of this country, I will not! All I have is my integrity like you as young people.” He also accused Kufuor of rigging the 2004 election.
This revengeful position of the former PNDC capo is said to have informed his decision not to have anything to do with former President Kufuor. And he is said to have also vowed not to attend any function were his “enemy” will be present.