Former president Jerry John Rawlings, founder of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), has testified to the integrity and credibility of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), saying the opposition leader is not corrupt.
Mr Rawlings believes it would be extremely difficult for anybody to tag the NPP presidential candidate with corruption or any related criminal act, considering his dislike for material things.
The endorsement follows Nana Akufo-Addo’s declaration that he is not corrupt and would never be corrupted.
“Fortunately for them, (referring to the NPP), they have a leader who is not known for messing around with material things,” the former president said.
The former president made the admission during an interview with the authoritative Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian, on a wide range of issues.
When the issue of corruption came up, Mr Rawlings, who literally lined up former military leaders and executed them for alleged corrupt practices, did not spare his party – the NDC and government – which he said had been engulfed in the canker.
He feared that that could affect the chances of the party in the general elections likely November this year.
He went on to criticize the current leadership of the country for allowing corruption to envelope a party which was formed on the principles of probity, accountability and social justice.
That, according to Mr Rawlings, was part of the reasons why his wife and former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, left the NDC – a party she played an active role in forming – to go and form her own political group, the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Mr Rawlings underscored, “All I can do is speak up because I find myself in a situation where I have moral responsibility and no executive authority.
“I would have wished that my moral authority could have the same influence.
But that is not the case; corruption has infiltrated our institutions and their leaders so badly today that they use some kind of lens, to demonstrate that you can keep your moral authority, but this is executive power at work. The situation is so bad; so unfortunate.”
Unfortunate as it is, Mr. Rawlings said all “…I can do is to critique and advocate for my people. I can’t hide it. And I believe that was how I won the respect from the larger populace, from both sides of the political divide. I have remained principled.”
He bemoaned, “My wife is still standing where she is, cut off from our party that she was very responsible in building up because it became corrupted from Mills’ time.”