Back on February 2, 2008, Ato Kwamena Dadzie, put forward an article, check Ghanaweb of that date, making the argument that a weary nation, such as ours, need not worry about the health of Professor Atta Mills, or for that matter any presidential candidate, in determining who we vote for to become the president of Ghana. Whilst I respect Dadzie's opinion, I would beg to differ and this article is a direct response to Dadzie's article.
Does the health of our putative national or political leader matter? Yes of course. Nobody wishes Atta Mills to be sick, we are all human and fallible to sicknesses; that is part of living, and eventually we would all succumb to one sickness or the other. None of us would get out of planet Earth alive, we would all eventually die someday, whether we like it or not, afraid or not. But regarding the president of a country, especially a third world country that would want to beat the fast track to middle income country and lift ourselves out of vicious cycle of poverty, I disagree with Ato Kwamena Dadzie. We cannot afford a seriously chronically sick old man at the top. We need somebody fit, both mentally and physically, and with proven experience, judgement, track record and best practices programs to get on top of things and delve into our development problems. What Prof. Atta Mills has put forward as explanation for his rapid weight loss is suspicious and not wholly believable. He comes across as hiding something, and has chosen sinusitis to deflect the attention of a prying nation. Look, many of us would want to lose weight, so maybe Prof. Atta Mills can tell us the secrets to losing weight, rapidly, so that we can cut back on the bulging obesity scare ravaging the country.
See, four doors to our left, to Guinea, Conakry, is a case in point. There we have Lansana Conteh, suffering from diabetes. He is so sick he sometimes goes for a six months stretch medical treatment in Europe. The man is so sick he has not been able to attend any international conference for almost 10years; not AU, UN, Francophone or even Ecowas summits. Inside his own country, he could be AWOL for months, not seen in public, doing anything. Guineans have become accustomed to TV stations presenting topical national news with only portraits of him and the following tired refrain: From the office of the president, Monsieur Conteh, lalalalala........ Whilst he is convalescing in Switzerland, all major decisions are put in the pending files bin, and a country is virtually put at a standstill and corruption and hiatus runs amok under a caretaker cabinet. In the Guinean case, they can argue that the guy became sick on the throne; he has been there since Sekou Toure died, and entering power through a coup d'etat in 1984. Right now he has become the typical Konongo kaya. He can't do the job; he won't step down for somebody else to do it either. That cannot be said of Mills. The guy is covering up, a serious disease, and we cannot risk electing him, only to find we have elected a sickly lame duck from day one, who would be shuttling between Ghana, South Africa, China and Europe for months un-end, to seek medical attention. If that should happen, Prof Mills could be charged with fraud in inducement, waiting to spring us with a surprise as soon as he is firmly installed on the Black Star Stool.
Where in the world can a sinusitis - a nose disease - confine one to a hospital bed for three months at one time, going from China to South Africa? China, India and South Africa, are notorious for horrific macabre organ transplantations, in some cases prisoners on death roll would have their kidneys and other organs forcibly removed or harvested and given to foreigners with deep pockets to pay. I hope that is not what Prof. Mills went to avail himself in China. And if he and his master Jerry Rawlings, did a good job, for the 20years that they sat on top of Ghana, why would he be going to South Africa, to seek treatment for sinus disease, instead of at Korle Bu? What happens to the average Joe who cannot go to overseas like Prof Mills and all these big shark politicians? Inquiring minds do not believe it has got anything to do with sinusitis, that is the excuse; there are more serious problems behind his nose. The alarm bell has been rung, and it is not even the NPP making the allegations, Atta Mills own NDC party members are seeing the crimson red tide rise, first by Spio Garbrah, and now Michael Teye Nyaunu, MP for Lower Manya Krobo. It has even been alleged by Alhaji Bature, the presenter of Alhaji & Alhaji Talk Show on Hot FM, that it is JJ Rawlings himself who is the prime mover behind the MP's allegations, asking Atta Mills to step down for a healthier person to take the NDC flag bearership. He says he has the proof, daring JJ Rawlings to deny the accusation.
For me Atta Mills is unqualified to be elected president of Ghana, for the simple reason that nobody re-hires and appoint a former CEO, who ran down a company into bankruptcy (hint HIPC), to the same job again, when he had failed at it previously. Atta Mills is on record to have said the hefty economic markers and statistics, chalked under the belt of the NPP government do not matter to him, to quote: "Statistics do not put money in the pockets of the people." To me that sums up everything. For the 20years that the P/NDC held sway, they did not give a damn to any economic indicators. It is like a student saying, he does not care about test scores, or a doctor saying the thermometer or spectrograph does not matter in analysing the health of a patient. So what the heck were they doing (I would have preferred the F word, you know)? How did they mark themselves? Is that the reason why they sat down to let the cedi plummet in value into nothingness, second only to Zimbabwe in Africa, before they were thumbed out of office by the people? To think of Atta Mills, saying that (and Jerry too has said the same, to quote: "The people do not eat statistics"), whilst he Atta Mills was the chairman of the Economic Management Team, supposedly the economic czar, is mind boggling. Everybody can forgive Rawlings for not being that knowledgeable about Economics, he was just the political figurehead and does not have chains of degrees after his name; but for Atta Mills to say that, and still ask to be let in again, is the biggest joke of all. No, a big no to Agya Atta Wuo Mills. He is not competent and capable; it is all book knowledge, no know-how and practicability, or applicability. It seems to me that Attah Mills whole attitude towards power, up to this time, has been like ones first encounter with sex; once you have it, the more you may want to have it again. That is why he is in the game. He wants to have his freak on, having broken his political virginity under JJ Rawlings. He had gone very close to the mountain top, two heart beats away, and wants to go there again. He has provided no real agenda, except to posture that it is, his turn to rule. Folks, the presidency is not an entitlement; that is not where you go to retire but to sacrifice to put country before self.
Atta Mills and his NDC do not get it. For 20years they beat around the bush and marched in circles. They have been in opposition for close to 8years now, yet still they do not get it on how to run a country and grow an economy. They are still blaming capitalism and property owning democracy, which is the cornerstone of the NPP government, and the secrets behind their success. Let me give it to them in plain English. It is not capitalism, but the absence of true capitalism and economic freedom that suppresses wealth building and economic development. For the 20years that the P/NDC suppressed our freedoms, shit-bombed the press and pulled down opponents businesses and buildings, and sold state enterprises to themselves and cronies, below floor prices, the economy of Ghana rather went into a tailspin, running aground until we became bankrupt, hence our declaration of HIPC. One cannot intimidate people into productivity, which was the P/NDC style. We grow an economy by eliminating corruption, which according to the infinite wisdom of Togbe Afede, the paramount chief of the Asogli State, is like termites that eat the foundation of a building. Sooner the whole country collapses because of corruption and intimidation that suppresses individual and businesses freedom. If we should eliminate corruption, reduce crime, remove bureaucratic bottlenecks, improve infrastructure, protect private property, improve revenue and tax collection, enforce contracts, support the rule of law, encourage savings and bring the informal sector into the banking system, encourage investments, educate the population, by making education more affordable and bearable for parents, such as through the free transportation for pupils and school feeding program, become self-sufficient in food production, protect and reduce post harvest losses, provide the people with affordable and revamped health care, such as through the National Health Insurance Scheme, and not exacerbate the productive energies of the people through useless internal conflicts or fighting with our neighbours, etc, that is when our economy can improve and grow, and that is what the NPP has been doing, and that is why they have been succeeding where the P/NDC failed to do so for 20 goddamned wasted years. Wealth is not created by buying, wealth is created by producing, and that is what the Asian tigers have done, that is what Malaysia did, for exactly the same period and time Jerry John Rawlings and his non-performing P/NDC held sway in Ghana. Atta Mills health is a sidekick to the fight for Ghana. His health matters, but more importantly his party and their program matters even more, and at this time they haven't produced any, except to suggest, the pendulum should swing their way, after 8years of NPP rule. That is wishful thinking and a return to the past. Who needs that?
Eric Kwasi Bottah (alias Oyokoba)