Former President Jerry John Rawlings has narrated how former Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Hannah Tetteh, maltreated his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings by ridiculing her in public.
He claimed the uncanny maltreatment happened during one of the independence anniversary celebrations.
According to the former president, the then foreign affairs minister squeezed his wife’s hand in public, forcing her (wife) to come out with a muffled groan which the ex-president claimed he heard – suggesting his wife was in momentary pain.
Addressing opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) cadres at the Arts Centre in Accra on Saturday, former President Rawlings, who is the founder of the party, said that Ms Hannah Tetteh even called to tell Lordina, wife of ex-President Mahama, about the incident and Lordina even remarked, “Oh! This old man! Has he not left this issue to lie?”
Mr Rawlings, who spiced his speech with the local dialect, said Ms. Tetteh turned herself into a Champion Jockey’ at congresses (NDC meetings) and appeared to say that the former minister was disrespectful to his wife.
“One time, in fact twice, that woman had turned herself into a Champion Jockey at congress meetings. The first time was in Tamale when she insulted my wife, second time somewhere.
“Then, third time was 6th March on the dais at the Independence Square,” he recalled, adding, “We were all sitting. She is the Foreign Minister. She led some guests to the dais to greet us. So in the course of exchanging pleasantries, she held my wife’s hand and I heard a groan. Later when I asked my wife what had happened to her, she said Hannah Tetteh Kpoda squeezed her hand.
“Look at my wife, she doesn’t have a thick skin and that Tetteh Kpoda (Hannah Tetteh) squeezed her hand!” It drew spontaneous laughter from the audience.
As a result of Hannah Tetteh’s alleged misconduct, the former president said he would have grabbed any opportunity to campaign against the then minister who was defeated as NDC MP for Awutu-Senya West Constituency in the Central Region, by Goerge Nenyi Andah of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the December 2016 elections.
Mr Rawlings indicated that he would have focused his energy at the “Central Region against our own candidate called Hanna Tetteh,” if he had the energy to involve himself in campaign activities before the 2016 polls.
Mr Jerry John Rawlings also took a swipe at the leadership of the NDC for sidelining former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu.
He said what the NDC lost in the sidelining of Mr Amidu had been gained by the NPP by making use of Amidu’s expertise in fighting corruption.
The former Attorney General was recently appointed Special Prosecutor by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Now, they have appointed hard iron hands like Martin Amidu to be in-charge of fighting corruption from that office [of Special Prosecutor] and some NDC people are angry. Their counterparts in NPP and other places are equally angry. What should that tell you? The evidence is there for everybody to see why we lost … Martin Amidu should have been used by us [NDC] but no… [we didn’t] when he is an embodiment of what we stand for.”
Clashes With Kennedy Agyapong
The former president also picked up issues with the MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, over a Lebanese businessman, Marwan Traboulsi – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Ghana who operates at the cargo village of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
The firebrand NPP MP’s beef is that the Lebanese businessman’s company had been given favourable terms in a contract with the government and that he (Agyapong) believes it was due to the excessive influence of the former president’s family that had made Mr. Traboulsi to rip off the people of Ghana.
He alleged that Mr Rawlings’s family is currently preventing the NPP government from reviewing the contract with Mr. Traboulsi’s company, which he said, has been running since July, 2012.
He also claimed Mr Traboulsi is abusing the contract with impunity, adding that had been lording it over National Security operatives at the airport.
“He is throwing his weight about at the place simply because he thinks he is a crony to former President Rawlings and his wife.”
JJ Fights Back
Barely 24 hours after the MP’s claims, the former President ‘returned fire.’ He appeared to be saying that he has no regrets for helping Mr Traboulsi.
Mr Rawlings described the businessman as ‘brilliant’ and ‘efficient’ and said he would always defend him.
“I will defend him any day as one of the most efficient and brilliant minds that I have come across,” he told the cadres, adding, “He was one of the first to go into large-scale farming and the export of pineapples during the revolution.
“Others did the same but his operations were so efficient that he was doing much better than some of the others. He later secured an aircraft that not only exported his produce, but those of other farmers,” Rawlings said.
He continued, “Traboulsi later left farming and diversified into cargo handling where his efficiency won him a bid to manage cargo handling at the airport, His efficiency level was so high we could beat South Africa by 30 minutes in cargo handling operations.”
The NDC founder noted, “Today some want to spoil the names of good people just like we do in our party.”
By William Yaw Owusu