THE PRESIDENTIAL Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, has urged Ghanaians to critically subject President John Agyekum Kufuor's warning of “major explosion” carried in April 9, 2000 edition of the Statesman and his concerns raised at the recent press conference into objective analysis to know who is actually beating war drums.
“I am not beating any war drum. I am not encouraging violence. I believe that as a responsible leader, I must be able to articulate the sentiments and the concerns of the people”, he told The Chronicle last Friday.
“This does not mean that I am beating war drums. It is rather unfortunate that people are giving different interpretations to mean I am beating war drums. In any case, who beats war drums? President Kufuor or Prof. Mills?”
Answering his own question, the former Vice President said when Mr. Kufuor, then NPP flagbearer in opposition had warned of major upheaval in the country resulting from the explosion of the people's anger, if the NDC continued with its “vampire approach” to the management of the economy, it was not given any interpretation. “This is very bad,” he told this paper.
Prof. Mills repudiated the various misinterpretation of the concerns that he raised to mean encouraging mayhem, violence, beating of war drums and attempt to cause or discredit the forthcoming elections, saying, “It would be irresponsible on my part to say that all is well while things are not well.
My only objective was to allay the concerns and the fears of the people and to have these matters addressed.”
The NDC Presidential Candidate said: “Even the greatest peace makers need to allay the concerns of the people to avoid breach of peace. It will be difficult to achieve peace if the harm has already been done. He who preaches peace must at the same time help to avoid developments and circumstances that are likely to lead to breach of peace.”
He said, what he pointed out represented the views of the people, which needed to be addressed but rather spins were being put on it.
“Indeed what I raised represent the facts. I personally have an experience. The reports are there to substantiate it. Clearly it was not my intention and it will never be my intention to beat war drums. I will continue to preach peace but I only raised these issues to be addressed,” he said.
Prof. Mills, at a recent press conference, stated that there was a growing evidence of anger, dissatisfaction and frustration among supporters of his party, which must be addressed, adding “I, as the leader, cannot ignore their justified concerns as they see clear attempts to manipulate the elections. If we do not take care, there may come a time when we will not be able to contain the anger and frustration of our people.”
He cautioned the government not to take “the patience and diplomacy of the leadership of the NDC, and indeed of the entire opposition for granted,” and urged the President to call his people to order because he could not pretend to be unaware of all that was going on.
Prof Mills displayed a copy of the Statesman's publication of the statement by then candidate Kufuor which partly read: “The NDC government has been warned of a major upheaval in this country resulting from the explosion of people's anger, if it continues with its 'vampire approach' to the management of the economy.
“Raising an alarm in an exclusive interview on the current state of the economy, Mr. Kufuor, who criticized the government for 'criminal conduct' said that the tendency of the Rawlings regime to treat Ghanaians like a conquered and subjugated people from whom a punitive price for mere existence ought to be extracted, is soon bound to erupt into a chaotic situation that may prove expensive for all.”
The former Vice President posed the question: “What is the difference between this statement and what I made to the extent that people claim I am beating war drums? Well for all intents and purposes, I will leave it for all the concerned people to judge.”