In Ghana, supporters of former President Jerry Rawlings have described as unfounded and ridiculous accusations that the former president and his government were visionless when they were in power. The reaction follows an accusation by the former defense minister and younger brother of current President John Kufuor, which said the Rawlings administration woefully failed to develop the country, or expand bequeathed colonial military edifices, such as Burma Hall, and the Defense Ministry buildings. Kwame Addo-Kufuor also alleged that Africa continues to lack development because of what he called visionless leaders like former President Rawlings.
Tony Aidoo served as deputy minister for defense in the Rawlings administration. From the capital Accra, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the accusations underscore the ruling party’s arrogance.
“I’m not surprised that like his brother, the president, they use the word visionless without understanding what it means. The same word, visionless, was used by his brother in connection with Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. But if it is visionless on the part of the NDC (National Democratic Congress) government, how come we conceived and actually started the project for the Kofi Annan international Peacekeeping Center? Was that visionless? I don’t’ think so,” Aidoo pointed out.
He explained that the former president and his administration should be congratulated instead of being vilified about their foresightedness.
“The January, 2000 budget actually allocated a sum of no less than four billion cedis (four million dollars) for the beginning of the construction of the project (Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Center). And it was Mr. Kofi Annan who cut the sod along with President Rawlings,” he said.
Aidoo reiterated the former president’s administration provisions to make the peacekeeping center a reality.
“They (ruling party) received the funding from Germany. We were going to build the thing out of our own resources. In 2000, the budget for the ministry of defense included the sum of money for the construction of the project. So a visionless government would not even have thought of the center, mush less allocate resources for it. So then, he is misusing the world visionless,” Aidoo noted.
He said the accusation against the former administration is not only unfounded, but also mischievous.
“A government that is visionless, as he claims on the part of the NDC, would have conceived of the mode of retirement of old serving personnel that would have kept them within the ministry of defense. We were not going to send them home. We were going to integrate them into the civilian section of the ministry. Up until now, they (the government) have not been able to retire these people because they threw our plans overboard. Incredibly enough, they say they are the vision people,” he reasoned.
Aidoo says morale in the military is at an all-time low under President John Kufuor’s government.
“When we were in government, you never read of desertion from the Ghana Armed forces. Today, the Vice President himself, Alhaji Aliu Mahama has public announced the government’s dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in which the military personnel are deserting,” Aidoo pointed out.