Former President Jerry Rawlings says late President John Mills’ administration helped to “institutionalise” corruption in Ghana.
In Rawlings’ view, Mills’ ‘failure’ to punish previous government officials of the Kufuor administration for, in his opinion, gross acts of graft, contributed to normalising corruption in Ghana.
At a memorial service organised by the South African High Commission in Accra Saturday in honour of late South African President Nelson Mandela, Rawlings said: “We missed the chance to deal with [corruption]…in 2000; we missed the chance to correct it when we [NDC] won the office again in 2008”.
As far as he is concerned, “That was when we contributed to institutionalising corruption”, adding: “These are some of the things Nelson Mandela was fighting; corruption in various forms; human rights violations and crass acquisition of wealth, etc., to the detriment of the populace”.
According to Rawlings: “We’ve institutionalised corruption in such a way that it’s making it difficult for us to lift off, and Ghana is almost in that same alley”.
Mr Rawlings, who recently repeated gross corruption allegations against his direct successor, John Kufuor, once again argued that corruption, under the constitutional dispensation of the fourth Republic, begun with Kufuor’s presidency.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, today corruption has become so rampant that some of us are turning to forget that this is when it started”.
He said: “The following government should have instituted measures to investigate and to punish and refused to do that. That is when, I keep saying, you then begin to destroy the moral fabric of society. That is when we now institutionalised corruption”.
Rawlings noted that the current viral and cancerous nature of corruption in Ghana cannot be blamed on President John Mahama, whom he says, is doing his best to contain it.
“It’s here now; we can feel it all over the place, so this government is responsible for it? This government is responsible for it to some degree, but the starting point is what I’m trying to draw the country’s attention to, when it started in 2000 in vicious ways. Violent things that happened until the country knocked it off”.
Rawlings said Mahama, after Mills’ death, represents some hope in the fight against corruption.
“…He died before his time was due; hope restored to a younger man, but he’s become pretty much overwhelmed even as he’s doing what he can”.
At the memorial service were former first lady Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings; South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Jeanette Thokozile Ndhlovu; Ghana’s foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh; the ConventionPeople’s Party’s Chair Samia Nkrumah and and members of the diplomatic community.