Former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana has said he is one of Africa’s cleanest leaders to have been head of state.
“I will dare you to go and line up some of your finest policemen, some of your finest heads of state, some of your finest judges. Make any allegations against me. Whatever questions you want to ask; take me through a chemical interrogation. I will be the one who will pass. I wonder how many of you will pass,” Mr Rawlings told some African youths at a forum outside Ghana recently.
Responding to a question from a member of the audience about allegations of corruption leveled against him back home by critics, Mr Rawlings retorted: “…Chief when it comes to accusing me, don’t forget, eight generals, three former heads of state, painfully executed. I Rawlings will not turn round and commit the very crime for which another man lost his life.”
Mr Rawlings was leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) in 1979 and the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) from 1981.
In January this year, he said the AFRC necessarily needed to have executed Generals Afrifa, Acheampong, Utaka, Akuffo and other senior officers in the Ghana Armed Forces in 1979 to save the country from implosion following the June 4 uprising, which, according to him, was sparked by the unbridled corruption by the Military leader at the time.
“We had no choice. We thought let two go. Acheampong and a certain Utuka, very corrupt Generals. They were sacrificed. It was not enough. Ladies and gentlemen, 10 days later, we had to sacrifice another 6 and some of the Commanders were innocent good people but it had to be done because the rage in the country was too high, too much”, the former military leader told students in the Volta region where he spoke as the Guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the regional camp of the International Youth Fellowship at the Adidome Senior High School.
According to him, the purge was necessary to cleanse the country of corruption at the time. According to him, “the ‘kalabule’ had so badly gripped the society”.
The AFRC was the government of Ghana from June 4, 1979 to September 24, 1979. It railroaded its way into power through a bloody takeover that toppled another junta, Supreme Military Council.
In his lecture to the African youths recently, the former Ghanaian military and civilian leader said: “If we can learn to be bold enough to restore the value of truth in our society, then we will have justice,” adding that: “Without truth, we cannot have justice.”