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25.03.2009 Letter

An Open Letter to President Atta-Mills – Matters Arising

By The Statesman
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Dear Mr. President,
In my first open treatise to you, Mr President, I highlighted the fear of many Ghanaians that you seem to be getting lost in your own theatre of dreams-come-true and I urged you to assert yourself and control your people and prove to them that you are the leader.

I was really pleased that Mr. President, you seemed to have responded well to the letter I sent to you, as a well-wisher, and you were beginning to assert yourself in your rather short period in office by reminding, whom it may concern, that you are the boss. As they say, never underestimate the resolve of the quiet man. Kudos Mr. President, for I love a man who does not mince words.

Mr. President you seemed though to have played to the wrong gallery. You see such words are said at party conferences or party caucus meetings but to make such comments before a team of journalists at the Castle was rather misjudged and mistimed, if you don't mind me saying that

First of all, making such an unguarded (BOOM) statement to journalists without giving them reasons and the context in which it was said, meant that it was open to all sorts of interpretations. You gave them an opportunity to speculate and draw their own conclusions as to who or what you meant when you read out this riot act.

As a well wisher, I was hoping that you meant your men who had gone wayward and were giving a bad characterization to your first 100 days. I punched the air with delight when I heard the warning about the long arm of the law to deal with those who fall foul of it.

However, sending your two ever competing messengers to go out and bark further to us that you actually meant the opposition party and not your own party, makes it even more misjudged and people are saying that this out-of-character statement suggests you are not up to the task.

Your two men, like the Biblical Jacob and Esau who are constantly bickering and barking at each other for Isaac"s blessing were in a contest as to who can bark hardest at the opposition party

Perhaps in a rather belated spin you tried to send the more level headed Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama to say that you meant everybody, NDC and NPP included. Too late, may be.

Mr. President, I punched the air in delight when you read the riot act thus,

"There is no other government in this country. There is no other president in this country…where you have people arrogate to themselves certain rights. Where people threaten to take the law into their own hands, I Atta Mills will not allow this to happen.

I thought you were telling Lt. Col Gbevlo Lartey who has chosen a public platform instead of your quiet diplomacy to threaten former President Kufuor that he will strip him of his security gadgets and his flamboyant raid on his office premises that YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT.

I thought you were telling Mr. Victor Smith, your head of protocol who has embarked on a personal quest of car snatching for which you have often gone to apologise after he has messed up that YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT.

I thought you were telling the Ga Dangme Youth who clearly seem to have got their script from somewhere other than from you that YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT.

I thought you were telling the ALUTA and the AZORKA boys of Tamale who are making the place a no-go area for anyone and anything NPP that YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT and the President for all Ghanaians whether they voted for you or not.

I thought you were telling Ama Benyiwa Doe who you sent to Central Region - your home turf - to heal wounds and cement the famous victory you won there but had rather decided not to suffer fools gladly and has gone on a vendetta spree against her NPP adversaries that YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT and it is time for forgiveness and time to heal and as a leader she must learn to accommodate and unite rather than divide and rule.

Mr. President, these and many more in your party who sadly still do not recognise your leadership and still take instructions from your party leader and mentor are the ones who should be the butt of your comments. It was amazing the swiftness with which the ever combatant former 1st lady Nana Konadu came to defend your statement. Might she know the source of your inspiration?

YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT. Yes and no one can take that away from you. The 1992 Constitution gives you unfettered executive powers and within legal means or with reason you can do everything "except changing a man into woman and a woman into man.' You are the boss, the CEO of Ghana and the buck stops at your desk

You can choose to live at the Castle, the Millennium House or Peduase and no one can stop you.

However as a President, your power does not preclude other political parties from organising legally. You cannot stage the mode in which opposition party leaders return to Ghana, their homeland

 You cannot stop party faithful from following their leaders, and you cannot legislate for what they wear for that purpose, and if your comment was called for by this action by the NPP when Nana Akufo-Addo returned to Ghana on the 15th of March, then Mr. President you have goofed and it smacks of jealousy, I think. Do you remember you came from South Africa once to a triumphant entry into Ghana, led by your NDC faithful ones?

It has also been argued that the pronouncements of certain members of the NPP that they would advise themselves on certain issues, may have called for your comments. Well the NPP owe it to Ghanaians, as the largest party in opposition, to keep your government in check and they are bound to criticise you every step of the way

Former President Rawlings in opposition under the then President Kufuor called all Ghanaians to 'civil disobedience' towards the NPP government. In London, at the South Bank University, he said Ghana was ripe for a coup d'état.

His body guards constantly clashed and competed with the President"s. He met former security chiefs and issued at the time what seemed to be the alternative state of the nation report on security.

 He referred to the then President that he was 'Ataa Ayi', the notorious robber but in all this the President's feathers were not ruffled. 

So Mr. President I honestly think you are biting too hard and wrongly and if you are going to react at every move of the opposition, you are going to have a very long four years.

Kind regards
Kwesi Atta-Krufi Hayford

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."