I Don't Accept Bribes Else Posterity Will Judge Me - Late President JJ Rawlings

 I Don't Accept Bribes Else Posterity Will Judge Me - Late President JJ Rawlings



President Rawlings at some point of the interview. This is a repeat of an interview the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Kobby Asmah, then Political Editor, had with former President Jerry John Rawlings who surpassed away on Thursday, November 12, 2020. This e-book is to honour his reminiscence and to commemorate twelve months of his passing which become marked ultimate week.


Preamble: One of the maximum effective households withinside the u . s . is that of the Rawlingses. Former President Jerry John Rawlings is the longest-serving Head of State withinside the records of the u . s ., with some of landmark achievements to his credit.


But he is likewise criticised for positive selections taken beneathneath his 18 years of rebellion and revolution, in addition to democratic governance. His wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, on the alternative hand, is the longest-serving First Lady and main propose of women’s empowerment in Africa.


As is to be anticipated, troubles regarding the own circle of relatives are topical withinside the u . s .’s political discourse. Former President Rawlings has been a lead crusader in anti-corruption troubles. Recently, however, there were media reviews that he took a present from the past due Nigerian President Sanni Abacha.


When the information broke withinside the Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian, Mr Asmah determined to touch former President Rawlings to throw a few mild at the troubles. After to and fro actions spanning a few few days, he agreed to furnish the interview. The appointed date and time couldn't be showed till one great morning while the previous President determined, via a phone name from his Press Secretary, to have interaction the Daily Graphic group.



The crew were given to his house earlier than the appointed time to undergo the important protocols. When he opened his personal workplace to us and the ‘big tall frame’ of a character welcomed us to a two-hour interview session, it changed into now no longer with out the ‘Papa J Character’ paying homage to his heyday because the Head of State of Ghana.


“Have you study what they have got written approximately me? It is nasty eh?” the previous President requested, unexpectedly. Momentarily, I went clean however got here returned to answer: “Yes, I even have study what's withinside the media domain.”


Then the previous President plunged into action. His emotions, gestures, confident-searching postures, demeanour, articulation reminded the Daily Graphic crew of his heyday on the helm of the political beliefs enticing with Ghanaians on the way to construct a rustic of promise.


I had predicted to invite questions, however very feature of him, the previous President determined to stroll us via a lecture, referring to his days as head of kingdom (navy and civilian), a number of the tough and touchy choices he took, his observations out of political workplace, Ghana’s gift political scene, the demanding situations confronting the Ghanaian media and sooner or later the difficulty at stake.


The a whole lot predicted interview had lengthy all started once I began out asking my questions about governance withinside the us of a, the 2016 elections, his function withinside the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and lots of different troubles. No doubt there had been “booms” as usual.


Below are excerpts.


Kobby Asmah (KA): Do you every so often pass over the Office of President, Sir, having been the longest serving Head of State of this us of a?


Jerry John Rawlings (JJR): I don’t. At the equal time, it's miles every so often burdensome that I do now no longer have the sources and government authority to cope with the worrisome troubles and ache at the ground. My workplace has to cope with human beings with hardships, consisting of their incapacity to pay college and health facility fees, hire and funerals. 


Where else can they pass? I am uncomfortable taking donations and contributions from human beings to assist different needy human beings, however what can I do? Thankfully the Presidency, diverse personalities and firms chip in as soon as in a whilst.


KA:

What, on your opinion, ought to we do to completely clear up or minimise what you describe because the ache at the ground?


JJR:

What is lengthy late is the putting in of a basis to cater for a number of those humanitarian needs. The burden is simply too a whole lot. Ten years of being on the centre of rebellion and revolution and 8 years of constitutional rule with a few treacherous characters withinside the management also can be pretty stressful.


KA: Sir, are you able to please percentage with us your key cognizance whilst in authorities, being on the centre of rebellion and revolution and 8 years of constitutional rule?


JJR:

We did now no longer pass into authorities to make cash or enterprise. Because of that we ran a corruption unfastened administration. The key cognizance changed into to perceive capable human useful resource to control applicable establishments in a capable and green manner. 


In impact I spent 30-forty consistent with cent of my time looking out for corrupt or indicators of corruptible behaviour. Many pick to blight our report however we revived the monetary fitness of the us of a and left Ghana in true stead for sustained financial growth.


KA:

Ghana is going into her 7th elections on December 7, this year. There are uncertainties, anxieties, distrust and suspicion everywhere in the political environment.


How do you notice the political weather previous the presidential and parliamentary elections? What have to all stakeholders do to make certain unfastened, honest and non violent elections?


JJR:

I even have indicated earlier than that every one stakeholders; specifically the main political events, should make certain that as they marketing campaign they do now no longer hire competitive and abusive political rhetoric that has a tendency to elevate the political temperature.


 Leadership of political events have to rein in communicators and different supporters who inn to mudslinging, abuse, fake accusations and insults of their quest to denigrate their opponents.


It is likewise vital that the safety groups are visible to be corporation and unbiased of their managing of complex political conditions, whilst the media have to desist from permitting their mediums to be hijacked via way of means of politicians for bad politicking.


If all of the stakeholders – political events, media, the judiciary, protection groups and the Electoral Commission (EC) - play via way of means of the rules, the method will cease efficiently and all will receive the eventual winners.


KA:
Your perspectives on corruption are globally known, however what's this revelation which you acquired cash from one Gwarzo from Nigeria, 18 years after the problem had died?


JJR:
We have allowed the $five million mislead run, whilst it turned into $2 million. I am uninterested in falsehood and liars everywhere in the place. With the pile-up of lies and fabrication, I desired to set the report instantly as soon as and for all. That cash did now no longer move for my private use and turned into now no longer supposed to steer me to whitewash Abacha’s photograph. My credibility is valuable and can't be bought. 


My compatriots have constantly been anxious after I am approximately to communicate, regardless of how near I am to them!
General Abacha turned into unassuming and carried the decided pleasure of a Nigerian. His intervention throughout the uncertainties round Shonekan’s length turned into very well timed and saved the centre in Nigeria together.


He glaringly reputable the integrity of our management and selected to aid us with out prompting or being requested. How turned into I to understand he turned into carrying out stashing massive budget? Didn’t all of us listen approximately this bad behaviour after he had died? Incidentally, Nigeria used to make the maximum contributions, I accept as true with, to the ANC battle.
I can't stifle the fact. 


Jerry Rawlings by no means stifles the fact regardless of how lengthy a few try to suffocate the reality. Gwarzo must now no longer have executed what he did. Not in opposition to me. We survived and succeeded at the incorruptibility of the sector. This country exploded as soon as over corruption.
Being socialist minded as I concept we have been, our awareness turned into to show round maximum of our country firms and we had no time or hobby in selling commercial enterprise for private profit, because of which we hardly ever had any cash to interact withinside the neo-colonialist battle. 


I by no means declined aid from modern minded leaders due to the fact all of us knew the character of the battle we have been engaged in. Not one in all my colleagues withinside the PNDC/NDC can accuse me of misappropriating budget for my private use.
Sometime in 1982/eighty three a Pan-African rich admirer of our revolution flew in to satisfy me; after trade of perspectives; earlier than he departed, he signed a cheque for $1 million.


After his departure, I picked up the cheque and tossed it onto the workshop desk withinside the bed room on the Castle with one in all our protection comrades following me. About seven to 8 years later, this comrade turned into asking approximately the cheque and the want to coins the cash for a few project.


Having forgotten approximately it, I requested if he had any concept wherein it can be and he stated I tossed it onto the workshop desk so I requested him to head search for it. He located it and tried to coins it however there has been no cash.
I requested him to name the donor so I should enquire what had came about to the cash. The gentleman defined that once approximately six months of the cash sitting withinside the account, he concept we had no want for it so he took it returned.


When Mandela turned into going spherical the sector requesting budget and he got here right here for aid we have been privileged to contribute $1 million. Can this contribution be referred to as bribery? Mandela turned into combating apartheid and our revolution turned into combating neo-colonialism.


Governments and enterprises, in addition to individuals, everywhere in the international will both aid you or aid an competition in opposition to you relying on whether or not you're perceived as being modern or reactionary.
There are folks that placed those types of aid into their non-public wallet and debts at the same time as there are the ones people who acquire for patriotic and humanitarian functions and to keep the neo-colonial battle.


And this aid takes numerous forms; logistical, political or monetary. What do you believe you studied Russia is doing in Syria helping the regime at the same time as America is helping the competition to salary strugglefare in opposition to the regime? What is Saudi Arabia doing in Yemen and neighbouring countries? This type of aid for or in opposition to is going on anywhere all of the time. Denying it does now no longer suggest it isn't happening.


you watched Russia is doing in Syria assisting the regime even as America is assisting the competition to salary battle towards the regime? What is Saudi Arabia doing in Yemen and neighbouring countries? This sort of aid for or towards is going on anywhere all of the time. Denying it does now no longer imply it isn't happening.


KA:
Very nicely sir, however what changed into the precise cause of this cash? Was it some thing you solicited? Did you suitable a element on your private use?


JJR:
As I indicated earlier, it got here with out prompting or solicitation. We acquired diverse types of aid from leaders of governments and different nicely-wishers in our endured combat towards neo-colonialism. If I had received for my part in any way, or if I were stashing cash from such contributions, I could now no longer on the cease of my tenure, were in seek of $28,000 for a near own circle of relatives member’s surgical procedure whilst the incoming authorities refused to approve the clinical cost. 


I changed into forced to borrow the cash for the surgical procedure. I were forced to borrow lots larger quantities to aid plenty of our compatriots who've been thru painful conditions due to the persecution they suffered once we left workplace.


KA:
There were plenty of reactions for the reason that revelation. What is your response? Has this revelation instead punched a hollow for your quest for management of integrity? Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, a former Foreign Minister beneathneath former President Kufuor’s administration, says you must move and sin no extra. What is your reaction?


JJR:
As for Hackman Owusu-Agyemang’s comments, what I actually have to mention is that God will approve of my sins to date as they’re directed at human beings of his ilk.
Man’s quest for strength thru corrupt manner will push them into trying to damage human beings of integrity. Some societies prison human beings for lying, however right here liars and thieves have received the top hand; however now no longer over me. The reality for me is divine. 


Uniqueness, excellence and godliness can't be with out reality.
If we're searching out some thing poor to agree with approximately Rawlings, then move look for some thing else. If we're, however, as susceptible and faithless as to need to agree with a grimy rate of bribery and corruption towards me, then evil has triumphed. My unshakable integrity has served a noble cause nearly all my life.


The neo-colonialism warfare isn't dignity and electricity in their integrity. You want it to hold the warfare towards neo-colonialism and the adverse impact of bribery and corruption.
This orchestration is designed to weaken your perception in Rawlings and maximum of all for your very very own self. You want an incorruptible diploma or best of electricity to combat this evil and also you want your integrity to combat a great combat.


I locate it laughable that a few have used the media to attempt to rationalise or even talk nearly as though they understand the statistics extra than I do.
What might be the reason for the media stoking this difficulty to this extent? My popularity and picture offers a massive venture and impediment to bribery and corruption, so if the media may be used to create the impact and persuade human beings that I am corruptible, this will extrade the paradigm and damage the aspect that makes Rawlings a totally strong pressure.


If the human beings must start to have doubts approximately my integrity resulting from this falsehood, our enemies and traitors could have won. For them to misread a contribution or aid in our combat towards neo-colonialism is pretty disingenuous. A few too many characters withinside the media earn their dwelling this way. Destroying the integrity of Rawlings has been the principle goal due to the fact that 1979 to this day. Newspapers and different characters were installation and financed with this goal as the principle goal.


KA:
This brings me to the difficulty of your view on political discourse withinside the usa. Do you observe preferred discussions on our airwaves, print and social media?


JJR:
If we're going to permit a number of those self-acclaimed media analysts to steer our views approximately what's proper or fake, proper or incorrect then we are able to hold to have problems with growing above mediocrity, petty-mindedness and prejudicial thinking. Our feel of cultural justice and simple mind is being severely warped with the aid of using a number of those characters. Let us unfastened ourselves, allow us to disentangle our minds from the every day barrage of shallow and hole rhetoric on our airwaves.


Let’s now no longer permit our remedy towards bribery and corruption to weaken. That is the clean goal of those characters. They experience threatened with the aid of using everyone with better morals than they have got.


When I were given that economic award from the Hunger Project did I now no longer use it as seed cash for a university? Is this now no longer what I do, is it now no longer my nature? I will now no longer tolerate or allow this type of thing. My thoughts is nowhere close to materialism.


In November 2015, whilst the Minister of Petroleum knowledgeable me of a choice to call one of the Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading Vessels (FPSOs) after me, I declined the provide and wrote again to the minister, saying: “I will instead stay withinside the hearts of men, than have my call on monuments, streets and circles.”


Let me guarantee the severa human beings of my strong religion right here in Ghana and past that my integrity is undamaged and unshakable. I can't pressure perception on everyone. If a few do now no longer understand who I am…the best of my integrity with the aid of using now, there’s little I can do to assist them. Maybe, whilst the carrion consuming vultures and reality haters have had their fill, reasoning minds and hearts will prevail.


KA:
Questions were raised approximately your position withinside the NDC. As celebration founder you've got got criticised the celebration publicly and these days mentioned the NPP candidate as now no longer being corrupt. Do you continue to aid the NDC?


JJR:
Do you understand the range of instances Justice Annan stored reminding me that he belongs to the UP/PP culture at some stage in the PNDC era? And but I remained a wonderful admirer of Justice Annan, his brilliance, his diplomacy, his feel of equity and the best of his judgement. Justice Annan changed into one of the greatest statesmen of integrity that I actually have encounter and gave his great to this usa as maximum folks tried to do. Justice Annan could certainly were a totally first-rate President.


I will, therefore, now no longer misjudge the NPP resulting from a number of its callous, vicious factors simply as I will now no longer disown or misjudge the revolution, the PNDC and the NDC as a number of its appointees and main figures have accomplished in dissociating themselves from the PNDC, June four and thirty first December. 


Treachery and disloyalty isn't my nature.
Some withinside the celebration have became themselves into kingmakers who will do all of their strength to upstage the celebration shape and perform the celebration from their homes.


My criticisms of socio-political troubles have now no longer been constrained to the NDC. When I changed into very crucial of the Kufuor authorities and his celebration I changed into then withinside the suitable books of the NDC, however nowadays after 8 years of NDC whom do I criticise?
Naturally, I will criticise the celebration that has been saddled with the obligation to manipulate the country.


I every now and then echo the evaluations of the unvoiced and I accomplish that with goodwill. I accomplish that to make sure that the celebration and its authorities live on their toes. My position as Founder must now no longer be a foundation to suffocate my conscience.


The NDC is certainly an impressive political pressure born out of a revolution that many laid down their lives for. Our obligation is to each guy and female who sacrificed with their blood and toil at some stage in the ones heady days.
Failure to stick to the concepts of probity, accountability, transparency and integrity might be a betrayal of individuals who sacrificed for this state.



KA:
Many, together with the worldwide community, are looking forward to to study your memoir. Sir, how come we do now no longer have your memoir written and posted with the aid of using now?


JJR:
My memoir might be out with the aid of using my seventieth birthday and the identify will, however, be surprising however proper.

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