Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has in a meeting with former Mozambique leader, Joachim Chissano, criticized France for its audacity to question the decision by African leaders to elect Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as Chairman of the African Union.
President Rawlings said it beats his imagination that French President Francois Hollande had the audacity to send delegations to Francophone countries to query African heads as to why Mugabe was elected AU Chairman.
He said: “And when they are told he (Mugabe) is a man we are proud of because he has a historical memory of where we come from, to remind us of what we should be doing and where we should be going then their names are mentioned by Hollande as African heads of questionable character.
The former Mozambique leader was in Ghana at the invitation of the University of Development Studies (UDS) to deliver a series of lectures.
President Rawlings said former African leaders and other eminent persons had been a little too silent for far too long on very painful issues especially at the African Union level.
“Those of us on this continent are the ones paying the highest price for some of the global changes that are taking place. I suggest we create an opening for some of the bold statesmen and women on the continent so that the voice of Africa can be heard.
“We are being herded into a situation where we are losing our patriotic passion and being assimilated by the so-called international way of doing things. That way of doing things runs counter to our interests as Africans,” President Rawlings said.
Touching on the recent election of General Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria, President Rawlings said he was hopeful that the new leader would put in place a government of integrity to further heighten the renewed energy level in Nigeria.
President Rawlings denounced the state of self-denial of Africans, pointing out that General Buhari originally emerged on the Nigerian political landscape in order to prevent a very violent volcanic eruption similar to what Ghana experienced in 1979.
He said it was one of the reasons why Ghanaians were thrown out of Nigeria by the Shagari administration with the belief that the December 31 Revolution would disintegrate.
“But the revolution was here to stay. The pervasive climate of corruption in West Africa then, is what was provoking these revolts. As a result a lot of governments felt extremely threatened and Buhari had no choice but to emerge and take over.”
“It is unfortunate”, the former President stated, “that some of the Western media will want to call Buhari a former military dictator who overthrew a democratically elected government. That is not the case. He had no choice but to move in. If he hadn’t done so subordinates further down the line would have stepped in.”
President Rawlings added that in spite of Buhari’s leadership of integrity even at that time the atmosphere in Nigeria was loaded and very pregnant to revolt. It was therefore not a surprise that Babangida had to step in to establish the AFRC after ours.
President Chissano said he had complimented outgoing leader, Goodluck Jonathan for conceding the election as it helped to cool down tensions and commended President Rawlings for setting the tone in 1999/2000 when he accepted the outcome of the elections and handed over to a new leadership peacefully. He said General Buhari was disciplined while in office and he was expected to bring back that standard.
Present at the meeting were Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, former Foreign Minister Victor Gbeho and officials of the UDS.