Rawlings in the frame: the searchlight of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) has now fallen on former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Author:Afrani, Mike
Position:Around Africa: Ghana

After the Kwesi Pratt bombshell (see NA June), the nation now has the Rawlings bombshell. Pratt was exposed at the NRC by Warrant Officer Adjei Boadi, a member of Rawlings' erstwhile PNDC, as a double agent who spied on his anti-Rawlings friends for the PNDC military regime which Rawlings headed between 1982 and 1992. Pratt has strongly rejected the claims. Rawlings' accuser, on the other hand, came in the shape of Corporal Marthew Adabuga who told the NRC that he was the "brain behind" the 31 December 1981 coup that brought the PNDC and Rawlings to power.

Having flown in specially from overseas to give evidence, Adabuga said it was Rawlings who ordered the abduction and killing of three high court judges and a former army major in June 1982. A highly controversial issue at the time, the national anger over the murders seriously threatened the survival of the PNDC for several months. But Adabuga told the NRC that Rawlings celebrated the extra-judicial killings with a drink of champagne. His revelations have shocked the country as they sharply contradict the findings of a Special Investigations Board set up by the PNDC in 1982 that blamed the killings on other people but nor Rawlings.

Adabuga told the NRC: "Later, I got to know through the perpetrators of this heinous crime (he mentioned their names] that it was Flt-Lt Rawlings who asked them to kill the judges and the retired military officer."

"Nonsense," says Rawlings. Rejecting Adabuga's evidence in typical rumbustious style, Rawlings told West Africa magazine: "I can tell you that I don't drink champagne and my wife knows all about this. 'What was there to celebrate? I don't blame the witness [Adabuga]. It was all planned." On 4 June (the 24th anniversary of the 4 June 1979 uprising that first brought him to power), Rawlings addressed his followers in Accra and demanded that the NRC should "invite American experts with a high version of...

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