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Ghanaian Government Mulls Harsh Actions Against Former President Rawlings

Ghana’s information minister Kwamena Bartels says the government will decide soon what to do about reports suggesting that former president Jerry Rawlings is soliciting funds to overthrow the Kufuor government. Bartels held a news conference yesterday (Tuesday) to react to statements made by the former president. He said the government will be monitoring the activities of Mr. Rawlings because of what he called president Rawlings’ history as a serial coup maker in Ghana.

Kwamena Bartels spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about steps his government is taking to prevent any attempt to destabilize the country.

“We’ve taken various steps to ensure that what he was planning does not come into fruition, and the security agencies are on the alert and quite clearly every move that he is making is being carefully monitored. Quite clearly, everybody knows ex-President Rawlings as a serial coup maker and anytime he has a problem with the government he threatens a coup. But the point about it is that, in the past he’s done that to Hila Limann (former president) and Limann ignored it to his chagrin. We do not intend to ignore it,” he said.

Bartels says Ghana is stable despite pronouncements by former President Rawlings.

“The country is exceptionally stable. There is very little problem in this country as at now except for the effusions of ex-President Rawlings. The stability of this country is never in question. I believe that you have the network, either the embassies or the network of media people and they will tell you that there is not even a ripple in this country. We were worried about the fact that he was dragging the international image of this country down the drains and the gutters. And bringing down the names of international icons is as bad as that, and it is for that reason that we decided to react to him,” he noted

Bartels says the government has made several attempts to reconcile President Kufuor with ex-President Rawlings.

“Its unfortunate, that government has done so much to try. There have been various attempts at bringing them together. The problem with him is the fact that he does not show the kind of decorum that is expected of a former head of state towards the sitting head of state. I gave an example of him going to Switzerland with his wife and asking the ambassador there, demanding the ambassador to release $30,000 for him to take his wife to hospital. And the ambassador simply asked can you get the president to give approval? I cannot do it on my own. He says I am ordering you to do it and the ambassador refused and that is one of the causes. It is simple courtesy. He refuses to talk to Kufuor,” Bartels said.

He adds that ex-President Rawlings was expected to deny that he was planning a coup and it would have been strange if he actually admitted it.

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