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Ghana’s Former First Lady Stirs Up Controversy


A pronouncement by Ghana's former first lady suggesting that President John Kufuor is not an attorney as he claims is generating controversy. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of Ghana's former President Jerry Rawlings reportedly challenged President Kufuor as well as presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufu-Addo to tell Ghanaians the names of the schools they attained for their respective law degrees. But the ruling NPP described the former first lady's challenge as misguided and one that should be treated with contempt. The party added that presidential candidate Akufu Addo, who served under President Kufuor's administration as attorney general and foreign minister, was called to the Ghanaian Bar on July 8, 1975. From Ghana's capital, Accra Nana Agyeman-Rawlings tells reporter Peter Clottey that the ruling party took her words out of context.

"To begin with, this party and the government always take things completely out of context. What happened was that a group of students came to see my husband (former President Jerry Rawlings), and he asked me to sit in with them. And they were talking generally about how they (students) have been totally misinformed about various issues and so on. They also talked about the moral decadence that the country has been fed based on the cocaine and all kinds of things, and the persistent lies that were being told," Agyeman-Rawlings noted.

She said things were happening under the current administration that needed to be highlighted upon.

"When it came to my turn to speak, I then talked about the moral decadence and the fact that even statistics are being faked to be given to us as a people when everybody can see and feel the reality. And I went on to talk about a total sense of insecurity in the country now because everybody is afraid to go out after certain times, which was not like that in Ghana before," she said.

Agyeman-Rawlings said President Kufuor denied in an interview that he was ever an attorney.

"As for Mr. Kufuor, he came on BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and said it himself. When the interviewer was trying to ask him about some legal issues, he told the guy he was not a lawyer. And the man said but on your CV (Curriculum Vitae) you claim to be a lawyer, but President Kufuor said, I am telling you I am not a lawyer. He (President Kufuor) did PPE, that is Political Science, Philosophy and Economics, and that he never read law and so on, and he does not know why people keep saying he is a lawyer," Agyeman-Rawlings noted.

She said the ruling party's presidential candidate is yet to confirm or deny how he acquired his law degree after he was challenged.

"On the Akufu-Addo one, sometime in 2002 there was a discussion on radio. And one of the MP (member of parliament) Honorable Dr. Kumbuor came out to clearly say and I quote " Akufu-Addo to the best of my knowledge an available record has no visible degree in law and particularly in constitutional law". So, I was quoting based on what had already been said and all of them (ruling party) had gone to beg this Honorable MP not to continue the discussion on television. So, they are attacking me because they know what I have said is true," she said.

Agyeman-Rawlings denied she was attacking the character of the ruling party's presidential candidate ahead of this year's general election.

"You know what? I was not attacking. I was bringing to the fore facts that people were not trying to say because I know for a fact that Nana Akufu-Addo did economics. I also have people that he was living with when he was in Paris, he did not do law in Paris. Now they are telling us that he did law in the UK (United Kingdom). But in the UK you cannot go and do the bar without doing at least two years of law school. So, all he has to do is to say this is the university I attended, this is the level I reached and based on this I went to this bar. It is up to him to come and prove to us that he has done this. That is all there is," Agyeman-Rawlings pointed out.