THE LIFE OR DEATH OF ATTA MILLS
7/1/2012 1:17:37 PM -
It is a common thing these days around all the 54 Africa Union member states to see our heads of states flying out to faraway lands for medical assistance while the medical institutions they claim to be manning at home rotten up. It bugs the mind when these individuals do not see their actions as setting wrong precedents to those who look up to them for leadership. And few even see the connection between their actions of seeking medical assistance in the industrialized nations as a signal for others to loot the state resources for their own rainy days elsewhere. How many of us care to relate these developments with the lives that are being daily lost of voters who votes for a better medical care too? We are believers in democracy but, this is not what we all fought for in the name of democracy.
The recent rumour relating to the death of President John Atta Mills gained the necessary attention of the Ghanaian populace than should have been the case due to the recent pockets of social unrest sprouting in different parts of the state without the expected presidential response. Most of us have grown expecting the chief executive of our nation to either rush to the scene of social upheavals or use the most effective communication medium available to issue instant public statements on the position of the state regarding such development. We even expected the reaction of the president to be swift when lives and properties are at stake. What ensued was a bureaucratic wave of indifference making room for all sorts of reactions and rumour.
The rumour mongers' version that the president was not only sick but dead and kept in a makeshift morgue in the Castle only served to filled the vacuum that existed awaiting such rumour. Typical of rumour mongers, another version had it that the president is barely alive and so incapacitated that imported machines are what sustain his life as he spends most of the presidential time in coma. The rumour even added the concerns that the president's work were left in the hands of unknown individuals who are then calling the shots than the very person the 24 million citizens of Ghana mandated to do their job.
It might have been a relief to most when the president was later seen at the airport saying he is leaving the state of Ghana on a ten days journey to the United States of America for medical check-up. This development indeed confirmed some of the rumour than disproving it. It confirmed the president was sick and that the sickness was so severe that no medical facilities available in Ghana are capable of managing the health condition of the number one citizen of Ghana. The question that continued to hunt the minds of most concerned Ghanaians is for how long has the president been in such a state that most Ghanaians were kept in the dark about? The concerns about the ill health of the president is no more about whether it is true or lies, but it has moved from an ill -wish by the opposition party to an internal sabotage by the NDC (National Democratic Congress) members themselves. Thus the rumour of the president not being of good health is not a ploy by the opposition to wish the president an ill health as individuals like the Deputy Information Minister Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa and co made it look but some members of the party who could not hold the secrete any longer decided to let the members of the public into the condition of health of their president.
At the last election, Ghanaians who were aware of the saying 'A healthy mind lives in healthy body' voted for a healthy individual in the person of John Mills to move and sustain the state from an ill one to a healthy one. The poor voters of Ghana who were fully conscious of the relationship existing in the health of the president as a person and the nation as an entity did so expecting a timely intervention in their hour of need. Is it then not misleading to be hiding the change in the condition of such an individual to the poor Ghanaians if for no fault of the president things are no more what they use to be? How honest is the number one citizen to the people when all along the president is actually not he appeared to be?
Unlike a monarchical system of government in which the fate of citizens could be tied to a sickly heir to the throne as a head of state without the unfortunate subjects knowing much about their head of state, the democratic system of arriving at who become the head of state frown at any ploy of hiding the condition of such a person from the governed. The democratic system is a public business that holds high the right of citizens to have a detailed knowledge about the state of health of their head of state and make allowance for citizens to effect a replacement if necessary. The list of choices available to citizens under a presidential system regarding their head of state justified why Ghana and most Africa Union member states hold democracy in high esteem.
What then could have been the reasons for keeping the health condition of the head of state a secret from the citizen, important as this is to democracy? Most of course will say it is for security reason and could go on to say, divulging such sensitive information to the masses will be sending out a wrong signal that could attract certain unwelcome attention to the presidency. Truly when the rumour got out, the reaction by the public confirmed this. It exposes a weak presidency that is vulnerable and susceptible to attack.
Now that it is clear that some people around the president are those who let out the secrete of the Osu Castle to the public, is it not fair to query the motive for this? The likely possibilities are that these individuals are planted around the president by the opposition party to sabotage the Mills government. It could also be the case that these individuals, like Martin Amidu, believes that the state of health of the president is so terrible that it is hindering his ability to give Ghanaians the best of himself in his duty and keeping this away from the public when the election for Ghanaians to make another decision of who man the challenging affairs of the nation is barely six month to go, is the most unpatriotic duty to their nation.
Now taking our cue from the last bit of the motive as allowing Ghanaians to know the truth by some key NDC inner circle members, one could say is to salvage the nation from the trap of misleading vulnerable majority of Ghanaians into voting for an individual with so much secrecy. Could this be said to be exactly what Mills himself did to J.J Rawlings? Does this even justify the fervent call within the NDC itself for the president's medical record over the past six months? If for any reason, it become established that the president has actually kept his medical condition as a top secret from Ghanaians despite the severity of such ailment, is this not in the best interest for all to join hands in encouraging the president to leave the office for NDC Party to move on with its agenda by a leadership of healthier person? Would this not even be a relief to the president as it will allow him ample private time away from the hustle and bustle of public attacks and political assaults?
It is very unfortunate to hear some individuals taking offence at citizens of Ghana expressing concerns about the fitness of their president. It is sad for anyone to challenge another for questioning the president's performance in relationship with his health condition as if it is not expected of Ghanaians to do so simply because the individual in question is the president of Ghana. Shouldn't that even be the reason for it in the first place? It is strange to hear some saying it is unpatriotic for any Ghanaian to wish the president is dead. It is also unfortunate not to understand that it is part of the democratic right and even more patriotic of those who wish otherwise of the president to openly express such feeling, as they will be doing so anyway in a free and fair election by the kind of vote they cast.
The like or dislike for president Mills is not for any reason than simply because he is the president of Ghana whose actions and inactions affect every facet of life of all Ghanaians. If indeed this single person's action affects that of every Ghanaians, positively or negatively, why should any sane person claim it is democratic for everyone to like this single person? It will be expected for those whose lives are positively affected by President Mills's action to wish he lives for ever and it will also be natural for those whose lives are negatively affected to wish he dies instantly.
The big challenge in Ghana today is therefore not those who are calling for the medical records of the president as a means of buttressing their position that the president is a misfit who actions is making them less privilege as Ghanaians but the action of those whose life is better by the actions of President Mills condemning these unfortunate ones. If the life of every Ghanaian is better by the actions of President Mills, having government ministers and paid officials daily scouting from one media house to another defending the benefits of Mills actions would not have been necessary.
The life or death of Professor Evans John Fifit Atta Mills is a single life like that of any one Ghanaian if not for the title and responsibility of a president associated with this particular individual's life. The title president is what transforms this particular individual from that of a private person to a public entity democratically earned for that matter.
There was indeed a recent call for a discontinuation of the secrecy around the president's condition of health but the response to this was very unfortunate. In fact the reactions were not only misguided but also belittling. The most interesting one was when a member of Ghanaian parliament demanded for the public to be informed of the medical condition of the president, and the reaction was for him to also make public his medical record, as if the individual is also the president of Ghana.
At this point in time, the state of Ghana is having two living presidents who are enjoying their private lives after serving the nation. In the days when these individuals were serving the state, individuals openly wished them worse than death and interestingly, these individuals have faded in the memory of the Ghanaian as if they never existed. Whatever these past presidents do today, majority of Ghanaians are the least interested in them and the answer to this is not far from the fact that the actions of these people do not affect the life of the majority Ghanaian as is the case of the sitting president Mills. So for the President to move on with the new development of life for which he has not control over but a mere act of nature, it is a mark of bravely, patriotism and selflessness for him to leave the presidency and Ghanaians will have nothing to do with him while he enjoy his private life in peace.
It is very unfortunate that president Mills is not even helping the situation as he confirms the wrong impression he is having on those who strongly believe that his presidential efforts are not helpful to them. I still find it difficult to believe myself on hearing that the president is spending some time demonstrating to some individuals at the Kotoka Airport of how healthy he is now. Why must the president do this as a proof to his condition of health? How helpful would it have been if President Mills has rather embarked on visits to all the hotspots to assure victims of the recent crisis of his presence and care? Quoting the President that he is now going to even work harder in serving Ghanaians with the new energy he has gained buttress the position that the president has been doing nothing all these while due to the protracted ill- health and that all those who lost their lives and loved ones would not have been the case if the president's health had not failed him.
Those of us who want to believe the president, if it actually matter at all, find it very difficult to do so when we ask ourselves of what exactly does he mean by this. The president has spent more than three political years of governance 'working hard' to provide the best health care for every Ghanaian, only for the same president to be publicly heard out to seek medical attention elsewhere than the one he has been working hard on all these years, indeed challenge the mind. It mean if President Mills' three years of hard work could not transform the Ghanaian medical care sector to the best possible for his own use in such a time of need, like all other sectors of the economy, how on earth should anyone take such an individual serious of working hard to do anything good to any sector of the economy when he has barely five months in office to go?
Finally, President Atta Mills has confirmed that he has no confidence in the Ghanaian medical facilities and the Ghanaian medical personnel on whom the state has invested billions of cedis to provide medical care to every Ghanaian. So if the president's choice of medical service elsewhere confirmed the president's lack of confidence in one of the Ghanaian most essential sector, then what sector of the nation does the president has confidence in? Does he even have confidence in the people of Ghana? Are we just a bunch of zombies that will troop to the polls to affirm our confidence in our president for him to continue to enjoy medical care elsewhere while he tell us fairy tales about health cares?
Kofi Ali Abdu-Yekin
Chairman/Coordinator -Action Group of Africa (AGA)