We Miss Jerry Rawlings
Herdsmen resident at the Akuse Plains say they miss ex-President Jerry John Rawlings and want him to come back to them. They recall with nostalgia, some social and economic benefits they used to enjoy when ex-President Rawlings used to visit a presidential retreat nearby. Flt-Lt. Rawlings, according to an elderly herdsman, kept stables and a kraal in the area when he was President and because of these, they had access to water, electricity and security protection against cattle rustlers. This story emerged when the Times reporter toured some towns along the Volta Lake and came across a stable, kraal and a security post, all abandoned and overgrown with weeds a distance away from the Akuse generating plant. The herdsman, who served as a tour guide to this reporter, said the place served as a country retreat for President Rawlings, especially at weekends, and his presence boosted their morale. "Look my friend! I have shaken the hands of the-ex-President on many occasions during some of his visits," he reminisced and spoke of Flt-Lt. Rawlings as being an avid horse lover. "His stable was not far from my kraal, so I used to run into him when he was taking a ride around." He said the ex-President kept a modest villa at the bank of the lake where he retreated after his outdoor activities. With the permission of the VRA security details, this reporter crossed the dam which leads to a long stretch of road to the Villa which has a well-mowed lawn and coconut trees on the fringes, but was denied entry by a security guard at the gate, who said the place was a security zone. The herdsman could not remember the exact year that the former President stopped coming to the place, but he was certain it was after he had left office. "The horses were taken away and eventually the cattle were also moved," he said. "We have hear (ex-President) Rawlings has relocated to another community across the river where he has been helping the people to fight weeds which is spreading over the river." The herdsman appealed to the ex-President to "remember the fine times" he spent with them, "We want him to come back at least once a while, to boost our morale," he stated. Ms Abla Fiadjoe, Public Relations Officer of the Volta River Authority (VRA), said the Presidential Villa was a state property under the care of the VRA which ensured that it was well kept for sitting Presidents. She could not say whether President Mills uses it or not.
Source: G. Times