I’ve not regretted for demolishing your Hotel – Rawlings to Alhaji Ibrahim

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has made the strongest indication yet that he does not regret the decision he took to demolish a hotel near the Tetteh Quarshie interchange in 1999.

Executive Chairman of the Dara Salaam Group, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim who owned the hotel valued at 5 million dollars, recently said after launching his autobiography that he had forgiven Mr. Rawlings for that controversial decision.

But speaking at the 40th anniversary of the June 4 Uprising at Nungua, Accra on Tuesday, the former president said Alhaji Yusif was in no position to forgive anyone, “not even the bush rat in his home town”.

He stressed that given another chance, he will pull down that hotel again, arguing that the hotel was wrongly sited. “Governments appear to exercise no restraint when it comes to breaking down poor people’s structures in waterways or unauthorised areas. Big people, however, seem to be above the law and are untouchable.

“If time were reversible, I would do it again and again and I will take along their new gargantuan structures in the waterways.” God, Mr. Rawlings said, had nothing to do with unlawful structures.

He described the allegation that he ordered the demolition because Alhaji Yusif was Sam Jonah’s friend and they owned the property as laughable. He said Jonah had a bigger appetite than “your little hotel”.

“I’m not sure the misuse of my name will win you any sympathy. Your financial claims and that granted by the court was overblown, but that’s how your kind mix business with politics.”

Mr. Rawlings was categorical that “we have let the rot in our countries and our continent go on unchecked for so long. We have held our noses and watched some extremely terrible leaders subject our people to the worst of suffering, left them to slaughter each other based on ethnicity and religion, year in year out.”

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