He said Mr Victor Smith, who is the immediate-past High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, peddled falsehood about him and also attempted to divert campaign cash that was supposed to have come from some Nigerians to his office for onward transfer to the NDC.
The former president made the startling revelation in his speech during the 38th anniversary celebration of the June 4, 1979 ‘revolution’ in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, on Sunday.
He initially said he was not going to speak much because of the lynching of Captain Maxwell Mahama, which he described as “dastardly, wicked, irrational and needless,” but ended up lambasting his former spokesperson and a few others for undermining him.
“I used to have a secretary called Victor Smith; we fell out. It wasn’t so much because of disagreement over John Mahama and yet that’s what he’s touting. And yet I guess he, like a few of us who want to be president, has stepped back being promised, of course, that he will make them running mates, I presume,” underscored Mr Rawlings.
“Listen, why did I turn against this boy called Victor Smith? He (Victor Smith) was my secretary. Some Nigerians invited us to the USA – I had left office – to come and give a talk and commission some business for them. We went. When we returned, subsequently – months or how many years later – when Prof Mills was our flag bearer, then these Nigerians decided to help, so, they were dealing with my office – Mr Victor Smith,” the former president said.
He continued, “Now I subsequently heard about it because there was a to-and-fro over this money. They know me, they want to give me the money and I can pass it on, not give it to Victor Smith and Victor Smith is saying that no, he would take it to the Prof, because I’m not the one who is going to be the candidate,’ blah blah blah blah that type of rubbish. So, they came out through somebody and said this is what is going on.”
Mr Rawlings, founder of the NDC said, “Eventually, the contribution did not even come. I did not receive any contribution from them, through Mills, through Smith, or directly through the person who came to see me also and I don’t believe that they sent it to Mills and I don’t believe that Prof Mills received any money from that place because I think they got fed up with the way this man (Victor Smith) was behaving.”
He added, “And yet, when the time to pour poison on me started, this secretary of mine was telling the world on radio stations that contribution was coming for a certain nationalistic duty and he had stopped it and diverted it to the flag bearer. In other words, he had stopped it from coming to me. I was disgusted that this guy would make up such a story.”
He averred, “And you know the one who angered me the most? Our Prof Mills who knew the truth but kept quiet for this poison to burn me. It was fraudulent.”
Victor Smith recently granted an interview on Asempa FM in Accra, accusing Jerry Rawlings of stabbing the NDC in the back and causing the party so much pain, especially in the run-up to the 2016 general election, which saw the party being heavily defeated by then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“I felt so bad about it when he (Mr Rawlings) seemed to be hobnobbing with the NPP in the run-up to the election. I, in particular, and I know so many others were unhappy that a founder of our party could be seen to be hobnobbing with our major opponent as we are about to go to war. It’s unheard of in any jurisdiction to be seen to be hobnobbing with the principal opponent as we prepare for war,” Victor Smith had said.
He added, “And I had the opportunity to tell him: ‘This is how I feel.’ I told him on WhatsApp and he said I didn’t understand, but I told him I understand. It is unheard of and there are so many people who are upset about it. We saw signs of it and it was not the best.
“Some of us fell very pained about this. I don’t know about others who don’t want to talk, but I feel pained that we worked so hard, travelling at night, up and down campaigning; people have died in accidents preparing for elections and your founder is hobnobbing with the chief opponent on national television. It’s painful. I must say it’s painful.”
By William Yaw Owusu