In January of the year 2009, Atta Mills was sworn into office as the President of the Republic of Ghana. I had observed the law professor from afar since he was “thrusted” onto the Ghanaian political scene. This observation had led me to believe that the man had undergone or was undergoing some form of ‘metamorphoses. After his inauguration I wrote a piece with the title as above and raised some issues. I stated in that article how Ghanaians generally had initially accepted Atta Mills with open arms, hoping that his presence would bring a ‘breath of fresh air’ to the Rawlings’ castle; but alas that was not to be. Later, the debate became whether the professor could be his ‘own man’ or not. He and his team tried, and succeeded in convincing Ghanaians that he had a solid pair between the thighs. At the end of my first article I wrote: “I want to submit that the Atta Mills of Legon is not the Atta Mills of today. So these glimpses tell me that there is more of Rawlings in Atta Mills than Ghanaians realize. I will be more than happy to see, at the end of the four years, that I was wrong and that Atta Mills was his own man, but only time will tell.”
Well I did not have to wait for four years. I guess Atta Mills couldn’t carry on with the charade any longer and so he’s already decided to let us know what the true ‘nature’ of the contents of Atta Mills’ head is-and I dare say it is not pretty!
“ASOMDWEEHENE” OR ….
I will start with the most recent. When Atta Mills finally brought in his much talked about team ‘A’ to replace the team ‘B’, Mahama Ayariga lost his role as the Presidential spokesman. I was not surprised at all. As I’ve already pointed out, I have closely studied the man Atta Mills since his VP days, and so that decision was in line with his ongoing ‘transformation’. How else could anybody explain the choice of Koku Anyidoho over Mahama Ayariga? When he was a presidential candidate and was trying to sell himself to the people of Ghana, as the “Asomdweehene”, he quickly got Ayariga to be his spokesman. That was a strategic move. Ayariga was this young, brilliant chap from the Northern part of the country. He was very polite and soft-spoken, but would always get his point across. For the image as “Asomdweehene” Ayariga was the man for the job. So why is Ayariga no longer the man for the job? Well I guess the “Asomdweehene” thing is no longer important. In fact, by deed or word; commission or omission, President Atta Mills has proven to have outsmarted Ghanaians and may very well do so again, come election 2012! I need not tell any Ghanaian who Koku Anyidoho is; enough has been written about his abrasive character and caustic mouth. Why would the “Asomdweehene” President decide on somebody like that as his Communications Director/Spokesman?
“MEDDLING” WITH PARLIAMENT
Did the President not tell us that he was a professor of law? Shouldn’t a professor of law be conversant with the constitution of the country? Or does one have to specialize as a Constitutional law professor before one can fully appreciate the constitution? What if this law professor also happens to be the President? The democratic principle of Separation of Powers is not a difficult one to understand. Simply put the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament should be independent and separate bodies. Yes their roles could be complimentary but should remain independent. Under what constitutional provision or authority did the President decide to just ‘snap’ the Majority Leader and his deputies from their roles in Parliament without informing Parliament first? He did not even inform his own NDC parliamentary caucus. Incredible!! This could be ‘acceptable’ under Rawlings but certainly not under Atta Mills, a supposed law professor but here we are. The President’s action left his own NDC Parliamentarians confounded and dumbfounded. Yes the move or action may not be technically illegal but the ‘letter’ and ‘spirit’ of the law are two separate entities. So the ‘letter of the law’ may not expressly and explicitly frown on such an action but the ‘spirit of the law’ may indicate otherwise. But I digress. The big question is why such a move? The Lens newspaper (aligned with the NDC) tells us that the Majority Leader and his team had to be removed because they had become too cozy with the minority NPP. I can only presume that ‘The Lens’ knows more about NDC decision-making than I do. And if that is the reason, is that the solution? For me, it is an attempt to weaken Parliament beyond recognition. Our Parliament, as it exists today, is a far cry from what the institution should represent; so why a law professor would decide on such a move is a bit bizarre if not suspicious. One would have thought that he would do everything to rather strengthen Parliament. Shouldn’t the NDC majority in Parliament be the ones to choose who their leaders should be? And if the President has some favourites, shouldn’t the proper thing be for him to communicate such to the NDC caucus? By this single action, he has usurped the power granted him by the constitution. What is the message to the people of Ghana, particularly our young ones coming up? That the President can do whatever he wants to Parliament? And if Atta Mills can do this in ‘broad daylight’ one shudders to think or imagine what he can do to the Judiciary in the ‘cover of darkness’.
CULTURE OF IMPUNITY
The President is a very ‘slippery’ man. After all the studies that I have done on him, he still manages to amaze me sometimes. The President addressed a durbar of Chiefs and people of the Northern region in Tamale on December 7 2009. In his address, he said his ‘government would not tolerate the culture of impunity and lawlessness that characterized previous administrations’. Fine words they are, but does the reality match the rhetoric? And by the way, which previous administrations was he talking about? NPP, or (P) NDC ? Not since the early Rawlings years has Ghana witnessed such lawlessness as experienced during the first year of Atta Mills. He further stated that the ‘government would not spare any individual or group of people who take the law into their own hands since the country belongs to all Ghanaians and all must live by the law’. I don’t know where the President has been for the past one year but the good people of Ghana do know differently. The people of Ghana do know that the law does not operate the same for all; that some are clearly above the law. Culture of impunity? Please come again Mr. President.
‘BAD COP-GOOD COP’ FAÇADE
As has been said, one cannot fool all the people all the time. The one major test for Atta Mills has always been proving to Ghanaians that he was his own man and would not ‘consult Rawlings 24/7’ on all issues. In order to achieve that he had to come up with a strategy that would convince the people of Ghana, or at least majority of them. So the strategy is to get Rawlings to openly and publicly criticize Atta Mills for all to see and hear. Rawlings is to express his frustrations as regards the refusal of Atta Mills to seek or take his counsel. For as long as that goes on the people of Ghana would be satisfied that Atta Mills is ‘doing his own thing’. You don’t agree with me? No problem. Only time would tell. Has the president ever expressed his disapproval of what Rawlings has been doing so far? Has he ever expressed disagreement with anything that Rawlings has criticized him of? When he was asked about this during his meeting with a section of the Press, the President just gave the ‘classic’ answer, that Rawlings has so many years of experience and that he only means well. And that plays very well into the “Asomdweehene” narrative that he has created for himself. So Rawlings is and remains the ‘bad’ guy and Atta Mills, an angel from the heavenly realm.
Written and submitted on February 2, 2010
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