Former Education Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has denied claims that he was one of several young members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were groomed by Prof Kwamena Ahwoi and some senior members of the party, to attack their founder, Mr Jerry John Rawlings any time the former military leader attacked President John Mills at the time.
In his recently-launched book, ‘Working with Rawlings’, Prof Awhoi chronicled, among others things, that some elders of the NDC adopted the attack strategy against Mr Rawlings, which, he said “worked” during a post-book launch interview with Accra-based Citi TV.
Mr Rawlings, would later describe those young attackers unleashed on him as ‘Babies with sharp teeth’
In a statement, however, the North Tongu MP said: “The claim by several media reportage that some of my colleagues and I were ‘recruited and groomed to attack the founder of the NDC during the Atta Mills’ administration’ are false, malicious, offensive and most unfair”.
“It is worth pointing out that the media renditions are not contained in the aforementioned book”.
Read Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s full statement below:
FOR THE RECORD
It has become necessary to react to vilifications targeted at my person and other young members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a consequence of portions and misleading interpretations by sections of the media and the public of the book titled: Working with Rawlings as authored by NDC stalwart Professor Kwamena Ahwoi.
The claim by several media reportage that some of my colleagues and I were “recruited and groomed to attack the founder of the NDC during the Atta Mills’ administration” are false, malicious, offensive and most unfair. It is worth pointing out that the media renditions are not contained in the aforementioned book.
Respectfully, I am an avowed devotee of the politics of principle and conviction. I have a mind of my own and I am not one to be “recruited” to say or do what I do not believe in or consider dishonourable.
For the record, I have at no time been drafted to “talk back” at the Founder of the NDC, former President Jerry John Rawlings neither have I needed prodding to defend the unblemished record and exemplary virtues of the iconic Asomdweehene – Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, particularly, having been spurred on at all times by unwavering personal conviction added to the fact that I had a responsibility to serve as Deputy Minister for Information at the time and for which I had amongst others, the core duty to defend and protect the image of the government.
In more than a decade of public life, the reverence and respect I have for our elders and forebears within and without the NDC cannot be questioned. I have always been greatly indebted to our venerable elders for their generous wise counsel and mentorship in shaping my career.
Everything within me abhors the politics of insults and denigrating our elders knowing that affronts our much-cherished traditions. Indeed, the distinguished author himself acknowledges at page 211 that in speaking for Prof. Mills, we did not resort to insults but logic.
I am in politics for the pursuit of nobler and higher objectives; that in our collective struggles we can build for ourselves a fair, just and egalitarian society. We cannot waste precious time on anything to the contrary.
It is instructive to note that the malicious interpretation of page 211 cannot be reconciled with page 179 where the author concedes that long before Prof. Mills won the 2008 election and therefore much earlier than the erroneous claim of a 2010 “recruitment” – “a pro-Mills group of talented youthful intellectuals and activists emerged. They were dedicated to upholding the attributes and promoting the values of Professor Mills and defending him against vicious and unprovoked attacks.”
Let the younger ones coming after us not be misled by the rather unfounded aspersions and innuendos in media circles and elsewhere to assume that there’s any glory in lending themselves to conspiracies targeted at disrespecting or disparaging the elders of this Republic.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
[MP, North Tongu]
Issued in Accra on the 5th of August, 2020
Similarly, a former Deputy Minister of Communication, Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu and his former boss Dr Edward Omane Boamah, have denied the same allegation.
Mr Kwakye Ofosu, in a statement, denied ever attacking Mr Rawlings on the promptings of any elders within the NDC.
Below is Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu’s full statement:
I have become aware of media reports suggesting that I was recruited together with others to denigrate or attack President Jerry John Rawlings following his criticism of the late President John Evans Atta Mills of blessed memory.
While acknowledging that the media reports are at best an exaggeration of portions of a book authored by the highly respected Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, I wish to place on record that at no point have I been part of any plot, recruitment exercise or strategy to “talk back” at President Rawlings.
It is a matter of public knowledge that I and others have rallied in the past to correct misimpressions created about the late President Mills during his tenure.
My contribution to any such effort was based purely on principle, conviction, and loyalty to the then President of Ghana and the leader of the NDC.
I have never required prompting or goading to speak about what I believe to be right or wrong.
All my contributions in the said matter were devoid of insults or aspersions as claimed by the media reports. It is worth noting that the book in question speaks about our resort to logic rather than insults.
Any claim, therefore, that there was a grand design to malign anyone for criticising President Mills is inaccurate.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu
Former Deputy Communications Minister
5th August 2020
Dr Omane Boamah, also in a statement, denied being one of those people.
“I have read excerpts of Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s book, ‘Working with Rawlings’ that appear to suggest I was among a group of young politicians, who were purposely engaged by him and others to respond to and ‘talk back’ at former President Rawlings for the latter’s attacks on the personality of the late President of Ghana, His Excellency John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills.
“Respectfully, I need to place on record that this claim is wholly and completely inaccurate and untrue”, the former presidential spokesperson said.
“As a young man and politician with core convictions”, Dr Omane Boamah said: “I was never engaged nor could I have allowed myself to be used by anyone to talk back at former President Rawlings”.
He continued: “My principled stand in defending the late President Atta Mills, without insults, against attacks I thought were underserved was borne out of my respect and appreciation of the personality of the late President Mills – the Asomdwehene, his pureness of heart and other sterling and unique qualities that he possessed to a fault”.
“The suggestion that my defence of the late President was part of a deliberate ‘strategy’ by elders is irksome to me”, he said.
“It does not reflect my personality as a politician of conviction and not of convenience”, he noted.
“For the record, I state emphatically and unequivocally that any claim that I was a recruited participant in any such grand agenda could only be the result of an inadvertent error in recollection and not founded on anything that remotely resembles the truth”, Dr Omane Boamah stressed.
Meanwhile, Mr Rawlings has said he will soon deal with Prof Ahwoi.
Among other things, Prof Ahwoi said President John Evans Atta Mills almost resigned as a result of some comments Mr Rawlings made about him in Tamale.
Also, the book claims Mr Rawlings squeezed the testicles of Mr Bede Ziedeng, one of the party’s stalwarts, during an encounter.
In a statement, however, Mr Rawlings said inasmuch as “I find it tiring and tedious to be engaging in self-defence when I have given my all, all these years, I will soon deal with the callous agenda of bile by the likes of Kwamena Ahwoi, who are desperately seeking control of the NDC party”.
He said the “NDC could, should and has survived on the authority of the word but if care is not taken, it will collapse and drown as has been happening, on the word of those in authority”.