Rawlings Turns Photographer Again

Former President Jerry John Rawlings once again stunned Ghanaians and international dignitaries last Saturday at the International Conference Centre when he pulled out a camera and took shots of the visiting American President, Barrack Hussein Obama. The famous or infamous incident took place after the US President had finished delivering his speech at the Conference Centre and was just about to interact and exchange pleasantries with the dignitaries and invited guests to the function. It is not certain whether the former President took along the digital camera with him to the conference centre or he borrowed it from one of his aides on the spur of the moment to do his own thing. The action of the former President was the talk of town over the weekend with some Ghanaians describing his conduct as undiplomatic in view of his position as a former Head of State. His admirers however think the action of their mentor was in order because he had the right to do so. It is the second time this year that, Mr Rawlings has made the headlines with his photographic instinct. It will be recalled that, the former President earlier this year, stormed the Kotoka International Airport with his camera to take shots of some security installations there. He was widely condemned for that action. In a related development, security was very tight both within the outside the International Conference Center last Saturday, July 11, 2009, prior to the arrival of the 44th Presdient of the United States of America, His Excellency Barrack Hussein Obama. Three routes were created to the premise, one at the main entrance opposite Ghana’s Parliament House, and two separate ones at the far left hand side of the conference center, when facing Parliament. At the first entrance through which vehicles entered the main compound of the center, all passengers were made to get down and their vehicles searched by the foreign security officers together with a sniffer dog. The second entrance goes with a thorough body search and an examination by equipment called metal detector to ensure that, nobody had any offensive weapon on him or her. At the third point of entry, everybody who entered the center was searched twice; first, all personal belongings had to be dumped few meters away from the people present. The sniffer dog was then made to sniff around from one end to the other, then, one of the security experts finally got down and did contact and a search through all the materials one after the other before approval was given for owners to go for them. But the Ghana Armed Forces had prior to the arrival of the two Presidents, already surrounded the whole area, while the police, the fire service and the rest of the security personnel present, were placed at strategic positions to monitor and restrict the movements of those accredited to be at the place. It was observed that, after the initial arrival, interactions and movement in the auditorium for some few minutes, everybody was confined to his or her designated place without any movement. Newsmen also gathered that, some people who had been to the auditorium and had gone out for whatever purposes or reasons were not given the second chance to enter.