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17.03.2009 Politics

President Mills talks tough, cautions against distraction

President Mills talks tough, cautions against distraction

President John Evans Atta Mills, in tough language, on Tuesday cautioned against acts of national detraction and pledged to allow the law to deal with such acts to the letter.

He remained resolute in his belief to be civil to one another, the rule of law and due process but warned that no one should take his respect for peaceful co-existence as weakness, timidity and unwillingness or inability to enforce the law.

“I've instructed the law enforcement agencies to apply the law to the letter,” President Mills said, as he addressed executives of the Ghana Journalists Association and some senior media practitioners, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu, in Accra.

The GJA called on the President to assure him of the co-operation of the media with Government to promote its better Ghana agenda.

President Mills reminded Ghanaians that despite the dislike by some people on his assumption to the office of the President, his victory was the verdict of the electorate in the last December general elections.

Ghanaians also installed the Government, and the win of the ruling party also followed the tenets of democracy, which Ghanaians must accept.

A section of Ghanaians must also not decide that they had the divine right to rule the nation and expect the law to be twisted in their favour.

President Mills, in reference to his days as lecturer and Professor at the University of Ghana, where he managed the University sports for 18 years during which two of the Halls would not accept sport verdict, said he enjoyed heckling and constructive criticisms for national growth and development.

He also made reference to his days in the lecture halls, observing that some students he taught, including some on the current media terrain, had been very intelligent and he took their criticisms.

The President, however, in apparent reference to some media practitioners and commentators that the work of the Transitional Team was witch-hunting, said the Team was looking for information in the advancement of national interests.

“Healthy criticism promotes development and growth, but when you have a situation where people decide that they have a divine right to rule, where the people decide that the law should be twisted in their favour, I, Atta Mills, will not accept this. All of us are equal. We should all be equal before the law. The law should not favour anybody. I will not go in for selective justice. I will want a situation that allows us all to be law abiding,” President Mills said.

The President said he was studying the report of the Transition Team in an objective transparent and impartial manner and once the study was over the law would take its full course.

He said it was only proper for public office holders who took an oath in the national interest but had broken it to be held accountable, adding that he would also live by the oath he swore to protect and preserve the integrity of Ghana.

“People in public office must be prepared to be held responsible for their period of stewardship,” President Mills said, and called for the nation to rise above the things that divided the nation and seek those that unified it.

Mr Ransford Tetteh, GJA President, said the GJA would resist any temptation to sway the content of any media house in a particular direction or to favour any particular interest group.

He commended Government on it decision to pass the Freedom of Information Bill and the National Broadcasting Laws.