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Controversy Over Coup Allegations in Ghana

Ghana's President John Kufuor has accused his predecessor, Jerry Rawlings, of soliciting funds from oil-rich countries he allegedly visited recently to overthrow his administration. This is generating lots of controversy with supporters of former president Rawlings calling the accusation irresponsible. Meanwhile at a press conference yesterday, former president Rawlings challenged president Kufuor to produce evidence that shows his complicity to destabilize the country.

Nana Ohene-Ntow is general secretary of the ruling New Patriotic PARTY (NPP). He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about President Kufuor’s accusation.

“The president informed the public that the former head of state has been traveling to some country he did not name. And has been talking to the head of state of that country to the effect that President Kufuor’s government has become so unpopular it ought to be removed. And that he was soliciting financial and other help of this unnamed foreign government to remove this very unpopular government of President Kufuor. And that the president thought that this was totally unbecoming of a former head of state, and that this was the sort of thing that the former head of state has been engaging in. From what President Kufuor said, this is quite recent and he did indeed condemn that kind of behavior,” he said.

Ohene-Ntow says President Kufuor only wanted to let Ghanaians know what he calls the true nature of former president Rawlings.

“I think that it is appropriate that the president ought to let Ghanaians know the true character of former President Rawlings. He is a person who is held in very high esteem by people in Ghana and around the world. And I’m sure that the people who respect Rawlings, may not know this other side of Rawlings or that they did not take it quite seriously. So, I think whether the security agencies will investigate or not, or whether the security agencies will invite him or not does not preclude the president from giving that information to the public,” he noted.

Meanwhile in a news conference yesterday Rawlings challenged President Kufuor to produce evidence that shows his complicity to destabilize the country.

Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah is deputy general secretary of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). He told VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that president Kufuor’s allegations are causing tension in Ghana.

“What he is accusing the former president off is treason. And treason is a very serious offense under the law of this country. If you look at this against the backdrop that just a couple of month’s ago, the president engaged in a similar act of deceit. I believe that he was engaged in plain mischiefs and irresponsible talk and it’s an attempt to divert attention from the numerous problems that this government is facing. This government is dwindling in popularity by the day, we’ve been riddled with a cocaine saga that is unprecedented in the history of the country and is a big mess. National associations of graduate teachers are on strike, there is agitation, and there is restlessness, massive corruption and abuse of office. In the face of all these, the president is really under tremendous pressure and he just sought to muddy the waters and offset the issues that are germane to the interest of Ghanaians,” he said.

Afriyie-Ankrah says former president Rawlings held a news conference to let people know that he has no intentions of destabilizing the country after he brought and maintained peace and stability during his administration.

“The former president held a press conference today (Thursday), and he stated categorically and unambiguously that first of all, he had not gone anywhere to solicit for funds from anybody for any purpose. But he went on to talk about the fact that the president targeted oil-rich Arab countries and in the view of the former president, it fits into his agenda as the stooge of the west and particularly of George Bush. And he thought that what the president was doing was just parroting a certain agenda. Our president has virtually become a stooge and that was most unfortunate,” he said.

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