Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings has had enough. Yesterday, he denied ever using drugs and threatened to go to court over the allegations contained in the infamous Wikileaks cables suggesting he was once hooked to drugs.
The ex-president considers the Wikileaks reports on him as attempts at smearing his reputation of some 19 years standing at the helm of the country’s affairs.
He has accordingly asked his lawyers to consider a court action against those who spread the contents of the leaks which denigrate him.
The leaked reports titled ‘A CLOSE LOOK AT GHANA’S PRESIDENT RAWLINGS’, was dispatched from American Embassy in Accra in July 1997 and distributed to the USA Secretary of State, Washington DC, and to American embassies in Abidjan, Ouagadougou, Coutonou, The Hague, and Lome under ‘classified confidential’ section and signed by Edward Brynn.
In summary, the cables on Rawlings alleged that “Princen’s spouse, a trained social worker, saw incontrovertible evidence of drug use by the president.”
The former president has, however, denied this particular allegation.
The cables also claimed; “Princen noticed what all of us observe as interlocutors: Rawlings’ incredible inability to recall names, even those of advisers constantly at his elbow”.
In addition, it noted, “the larger impression, however, was that President Rawlings was not well informed of recent unsettling economic trends.”
However, an unimpressed former President Rawlings issued a statement through his office yesterday to the media, stating, “We wish to state categorically that President Rawlings is not and has never been a drug user and this office takes particular offence to attempts to mar the character and reputation of President Rawlings who dutifully served as the Head of State of Ghana for 19 years.”
Mr. Rawlings has, in view of the now widespread reproduction of the cables by the media, warned those he described as “third users” to be wary of possibly being dragged to court over libel.
“Third party users of the leaked cables are cautioned that the information therein is false, not privileged and can be the subject of libel and slander,” Rawlings warned, adding, “We have instructed our legal counsel to take due note and act accordingly.”
It is one high-profile reaction from the Wikileaks allegations sweeping across the country since it began making worrying headlines in the past few days.
The office of the ex-president’s reaction was contained in a statement released in the heat of the leaks which appear to have something for every politician in the country.
Appearing to cast doubts on the authenticity of the leaks, the office stated, “The attention of the Office of President Rawlings has been drawn to a series of leaked diplomatic cables purported to originate from the United States Embassy.”
Mr. Rawlings’s office described as untrue the allegation that the ex-president ever had a meeting with then outgoing Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ghana in 1997, Mr. Hein Princen and his wife.
President Rawlings, the statement stated, had four, and not six children as claimed by Mr. and Mrs. Princen, “a fact that is well known and within the public domain”.
“The comments by Mr. and Mrs. Princen as contained in the leaks were unfounded, baseless, malicious and a smear on medically and scientifically established processes; as are actions of a section of the media and this office intends to see this matter through to its logical conclusion,” the statement warned.
The Wikileaks cables have literally set the local political terrain on fire as all manner of revelations attributable to high-profile politicians and media persons make the rounds.
Ever since the leaks hit town, the media has been awash with various disclosures and interpretations regarding the contents.
Source: A.R. Gomda
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