Since the death of President John Fiifi Atta Mills, tributes that have been paid by world leaders and many Ghanaians bear testimony to the genuine credentials of our late President and have confirmed that indeed he was a good man with very high sense of integrity, peace-loving (he was even called “Asomdweehene”), a devout Christian and above all he had a very good sense of humour.
In fact the tributes were so overwhelming that the doubting Thomases dared not challenge the credentials.
To some Ghanaians, his death was a shock simply because the NDC’s propaganda machinery orchestrated all manner of deceitful mechanisms that succeeded in fooling some Ghanaians into believing that indeed the late President was as fit as his security guards. He on the other hand, knowingly or unknowingly, added the garnishing by asking whether he looked ‘like a ghost’.
He was also described as a good democrat. Some can vouch for that because the initial difficulties he encountered in office were due to his refusal to heed the advice of his mentor and founder of the NDC and some members of his Party to throw ex-President Kufour and his ministers into jail, an action which could not be effected without the due process of law. His insisting on the right thing being done as some people opined, sowed the seed of mistrust between him and the ex- President Jerry John Rawlings but that decision also confirmed his credentials as a democrat.
Prior to the death of the President, there was too much tension in the country. The question being asked is why couldn’t these good attributes, especially of him being peace-loving, having a high level of integrity and Christian virtues, be translated into the governance of this country during his tenure of office? The simple answer as confirmed by revelations after his death is that the President was not well and therefore was not totally in control of affairs of the country. The next obvious question then is who was in charge? I will leave the answer to you, the good people of Ghana.
The tension that existed in the country could be described as ‘VERBAL POLLUTION’. Charles Swindoll, writing in ‘Our Daily Bread of 24th April, 2012’, defines this phenomenon as vitriolic attacks ‘passed around by grumblers, complainers and criticizers’. The poison of this pessimism is that it creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativity where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized. So the country was tense as a result of VERBAL POLLUTION but not war.
On the question of ‘Asomdwee’, we talk about peace in this country as if the very peaceful nature of Ghanaians should automatically bestow peace on the country. This perception is wrong and we need to work towards achieving peace by avoiding issues that tend to create tension. For example, whilst the country was mourning the death of the President, a controversial suggestion to bury the late President at the JUBILEE HOUSE, a place he had refused to stay whilst alive, emerged and sparked off a lot of discussions. The suggestion offended the sensibilities of some Ghanaians and to my mind was unnecessary and could have been avoided. The late President was finally interred at the “Asomdwee Park” where preparations of the site for the burial, was alleged to have started three months before the death of the President. So if that was the case, why the provocation? The current President’s comments describing the debate that ensued as useless was, to say the least, very unfortunate. The question is who started it all?
The other example is 2012 election is about four months away and from all indications the elections will be keenly contested. Why should the Government at this time attempt to introduce forty-five new constituencies when the legislative instrument covering the said constituencies is yet to be approved by parliament? The Electoral Commission has completed the biometric registration of voters at all polling stations and constituencies and it is ready to display the Voter Register at the early part of September 2012 for the elections. When the new constituencies are introduced at this late hour when will our illiterate voters be educated on the locations of the new polling stations where they would be required to cast their votes? From the way things are going it is a sure recipe for confusion and disaster because we do not have enough time to introduce the new constituencies peacefully and make them function effectively during the elections. Obviously some opposition parties will protest and this can create tension that can be avoided. A Government that has promised peaceful elections should not indulge itself in this mess and turn around some day to blame the opposition. This is hypocrisy.
In fact the relative peace we are currently experiencing in the political arena was made possible by the immediate cessation of “politics of insults” by the apostles of propaganda who lost their vim to carry on with their crusade of ‘politics of insult’ on hearing the death of President Mills. In addition, the immediate disciplining of Mr. Victor Smith by some remote powers which compelled him to withdraw his criticism of the selection of the NDC’s Vice President, sent a nasty shudder through the spines of the recalcitrant propagandists and foul-mouthed critics and made them aware of who is in charge of their future employment and those who were disturbing the peace in Ghana were thus unmasked.
My second issue is about the high level of integrity accredited to the late President as part of the numerous tributes which was never demonstrated or experienced in his governance. Here, I must be careful not to offend the sensibilities of those who are genuinely mourning the late President and those who are pretending to be sad about his demise. Never in our recent history has a President been heavily criticized for his handling of the country’s economy, notably his failed promises that has turned his’ better Ghana agenda’ into a ‘bitter Ghana agenda’. Those who are today propagating the late President as a ‘Saint’, a martyr, a Saviour were the very same people who created the mess around him which led to his bashing. I am saying this because ex President Rawlings confirmed that the late President could only work three hours a day and the current President told Chiefs in the Central Region that the late President gave him a lot of room to operate whilst he was his deputy.
Putting the two statements together it is very clear who was in charge of affairs and yet the President’s health was mismanaged leading to his death. Woyome was paid his judgment debt even though the late President had directed that it should not be paid on two occasions?
These actions put the late President under severe stress considering his integrity credentials and what befell him was unfortunately bound to happen. The fact that our culture frowns on abusive or negative comments on the dead does not mean that these matters cannot be commented on. In fact the Woyome scandal will not die but will continue to be criticized.
Today those who benefitted from his death are hiding behind his image of a good Christian, man of integrity and peace-loving, once again to fool Ghanaians into believing that indeed the late President left Ghanaians in good hands. Those at the helm of affairs were the same immediate advisers and if they could not help him achieve his ‘better Ghana agenda, how can they achieve these objectives in four months?
How can people be so mischievous to exploit the death of the late President for political advantage or sympathy votes as they call it? If there are any lessons to be learnt from his death, then the lies and deceit that culminated in his death must be eliminated from our body politic. However, looking at the way he is being projected as sitting at the right hand of God, obviously blasphemous, heaven is their limit.
Source: This article was written by Brigadier (Ret) Joseph Odei/D-Guide
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