WAS PRESIDENT MILLS A VILLIAN?
8/3/2012 4:04:39 PM -
Anna Esi Hanson
The phrase I have always prayed not to fall victim to is 'Had I known'. After watching the movie 'If Only', that phrase became my new taboo phrase. If only, a very short and simple statement, and yet, carries varied meanings, comes with varied interpretations, and can be used widely. For most of us, and in our lives, we have reached certain points where we have found ourselves making use of these phrases. Such moments usually fill us with sadness and deep regret. That is the story for most Ghanaians within the last few days. Repeatedly, this word has escaped the hearts, minds and lips of various people.
President Mills is dead, and I cannot still believe it. This is a sentiment most of us share. A great man has left us and rather sadly, most people are now getting the opportunity to know him better. Whiles he was with us, he was the villain, for most people, all in the name of politics. From afar, a keen observer could easily identify the spirit of humility this man exuded. It was in his mannerism; in his speech, in his steps, and in all his undertakings. This was a man who always wore a smile, even when he was under political attacks by all manner of people. And yet, he never for once changed. Despite all that, some people still saw him as the villain!
Rather sadly, most Ghanaians never saw all his invaluable traits, until his demise. That is life for us all! We only get to know people much better after their departure. Must this always be so? Must someone die before we learn to be appreciative? Was President Mills the villain that society made him to be? Was President Mills the idiot that some unscrupulous people thought him to be?
This great man was given all sorts of names. To some, he was a puddle, to others, he was a weak man. Some also thought of him as a coward and a lapdog. Indeed as a country, Ghana was never fair to the late President Mills! Our history would forever hold this to us, as a nation! The president stood in opposition, although then in government! He was constantly under attack and ridiculed. I was shocked to hear that even at his death, there was jubilation in certain quarters of this nation! Since when did it become a moment of joy for someone to die? Where exactly in our culture do we entertain that? Even a mere criminal would be mourned upon death, how much more a distinguished leader! Was President Mills a villain? Did he deserve all the name-calling?
Ghana completely disrespected this man! As a country, we breached so many laws. To attack a president is the number one. The president represents, and is, the custodian of the land! The president is a national symbol and had to be treated with utmost respect. Even the national flag is treated with great respect, and yet, we were ruthless to a sitting president! All in the name of freedom of speech and democracy! We were constantly disrespecting the president and for that matter, giving room for others to do likewise! On our airwaves, it was always shocking to hear all manner of persons, make derogatory remarks about this noble man. What example were we setting for other countries? Yet despite all that, we still expected so much from him. We gave him hell, and yet, we expected heaven in return, even when he was ill. For most of us, we never for once thought about the repercussions! I am glad that his death is giving us the opportunity to learn our lessons! He was a model politician, and the best at that! Ironically, society hails the dirty politicians and treats them better!
In the name of our dirty politics in Ghana today, President Mills was regarded in some circles as the villain! This was a man who could do no harm to even an insect and yet, he was constantly under attack and linked to all sorts of unfounded accusations of corruption, mismanagement, to mention but a few. Simply because he had been unfortunate to find himself in the wrong company! Ever since he took over the mantle of leadership, this man never really had the full cooperation and blessings of our nation! And yet, we expected a flourishing economy! We never gave him peace although he was himself an epitome of peace. As the president, we as citizens owed it to him to give him the best goodwill that we could. Rather sadly, he was met with insults, anger, accusations, curses and ill luck, even when he meant well. He made several sacrifices for this nation, unknown to us all. We frowned in return, even when he smiled. Can we for once put ourselves in his shoes during all those moments and occasions that insults were hurled at him; can we imagine how he had felt? Our various personal experiences would perhaps be enough. And now, he is gone! And now, we are all sad! And now, we have been left in a state of shock! And more still, we are beginning to know the real Professor Atta Mills as professed by his family, friends and colleagues. And yes, as professed by foreigners! President Mills was more valuable beyond the shores of his motherland!
Indeed, a prophet is always not welcome in his hometown! Just as was done to Jesus Christ, the same was done to President Mills. To our regret, he never complained! He never uttered a word! He never replied all those insults and hate messages, even when we wished he had! That was the mark of a great leader! Indeed, he was a great leader! In the upcoming days, we would hear all the praises that would be song in his memory! The world would also know all the good works he initiated, several of which were done privately to deserving individuals in the interest of this nation! Indeed, he did more than he was given credit for. And yet, he was considered as the villain!
Rather sadly, in our society today, and rather disappointingly, with the new trend of our mundane politics in Ghana, humility, love, respect, honesty, faithfulness, to mention but a few, are detested traits. The noble man cannot survive our politics today! For this reason, it has become the reign of thieves! Society loathes honesty! By default, we cannot take the truth and so, we endorse the best liars in our politics, into government positions. Our own president was ill and had to resort to keeping this secret from us! Even when we found out, people created humour out of it. His illness was used as topics for debate, selling newspapers, comedies, to mention but a few. People and conveniently, found it humorous that the president suffered from ill health. In the end, he had to keep us in the dark! Since when did it become a crime for a person to suffer from ill health? In the name of politics, people made mockery out of a delicate situation! God help us all! For this reason, our economy suffers! For this reason, our country suffers! For this reason, our continent suffers! This is the politics in Ghana today; lies and deceit!
By all standards, President Mills was a model citizen! From a humble beginning, he rose up through the ranks and attained the highest position of the land. In the world of education and intellectual abilities, then a young man, he made a great mark, a mark that most of us would forever admire and perhaps aspire to! He stood for honesty, humility, peace, courage, patience, love, piety, to mention but a few. Despite all the challenges he faced especially with his health, he did the very best he could do for this nation without complaining. He did the very best he could do for this nation within the little time he had and never for once showed any signs of pain. He never made any excuses for his shortfalls. In the face of all opposition and tribulations, this man still held high the flag of peace and unity. He was an exemplary leader and teacher! Of course, he was not perfect, but in his own way, he tried the very best that he could. And yet, he was seen as the villain!
In the world of academics, President Mills made and left an indelible mark that would be very hard to erase in the books of this nation, and beyond. In his personal life, his family, friends, and colleagues, all have their testimonies. In the world of politics, as he chose for himself, his legacy still remains! Whenever we thought about peace in our country, his very words of peace always come to mind. Perhaps that is the best legacy he left for this nation!
Peace encompasses and surpasses all things. Wherever peace dwells, love, happiness, prosperity, and godliness, also dwells. That is what this noble man represented! And yet, he was seen as the villain!
As a country, the death of our president, an unprecedented one indeed, has left the nation in a spirit of grief. The general atmosphere in most cities throughout the country gives a hint of a great loss! All around us, we keep hearing people talking about the goodness and nobility of this man. If he was truly the villain that society made him out to be, then our thoughts and comments about him would attest to that. In our various homes, offices, on the streets and at various shops and businesses, all keep discussing the issue of his character. Our various media have never seized the opportunity to tell us as much as we need to know about him. Each day, since his death, we get to know him better. Each day, since his passing, we wished he was still here with us. Sadly though, he is gone for good! In the upcoming days, more lessons would be thought and I believe after the period of mourning is over, a new Ghana would be born.
We would learn to appreciate greatness! We would learn to appreciate great leaders and treat them well! We would learn to celebrate great leaders, whiles they are alive! The politics in Ghana is not healthy! In the name of politics, innocent and well-meaning people are being attacked and publicly humiliated on a daily basis. On our airwaves, the heated arguments and call-ins have always been filled with insults. Propagandas seem to be the favourite messages. The politics of propaganda! In the end, reputations are tarnished beyond repairs. The victims are usually left demoralized. President Mills is gone! No more insults, no more ill health, no more pain and suffering!
In the wake of recent events, the country has been left in a state of reflection. We all need to access our lives and perhaps learn a few lessons. President Mills had several qualities worth emulating. Of all these, peace was his anthem! Let his passing unite the country! Let his passing, bring us the peace he so much desired and wished for us all! Let our politicians strive to attain the successes and excellence that he chalked. Let Ghana learn to inculcate in her politics, peace, honesty, godliness and national spirit! As he rightly said before, let us learn to do away with the politics of insults because in the Ghanaian politics of today, chaos rules and the best liars reign as lord. He taught this nation more than we can ever learn! He was a great statesman! He is gone but will forever be remembered for his legacy. President Mills was a man of peace and his legacy to this nation would forever be peace! Let us stay united and strive to uphold this! President Mills was man worth emulating, and not the villain that society, and perhaps, politics made him out to be.
Anna Esi Hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Takoradi.