President John Atta Mills is reported to have told a United States Embassy official in 2008 that there was plot to kill the founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.
According to Wikileaks, a whistle blower website, then candidate Mills had told Scott Ticknor, a Political Chief at the US Embassy that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, headed by John Agyekum Kufuor, attempted to assassinate his former boss before the 2008 general elections, but could not provide evidence when asked for one.
The confidential document prepared by Mr. Ticknor said, “During a January 26 meeting with Pol. Chief, former Vice President and NDC presidential candidate John Evans Atta Mills provided additional details on an alleged plot to assassinate former President Rawlings.”
According to Wikileaks, in a January 17 meeting with Pol. Chief and visiting AF/W Desk Officer, then candidate Mills had claimed “to know about a recent plot to assassinate former president J.J. Rawlings”.
“When asked for more details in the January 26 meeting, Mills said some colleagues informed him about one month ago that some members of the GoG and ruling NPP party had sent professional assassins from the United States to assassinate Rawlings in Ghana.”
“Mills was clear that there was no USG (United States Government) connection and he was not sure of the nationality of the reported assassins. His colleagues had informed Rawlings, who specifically asked that they brief Mills as well,” it said.
The report said President Mills communicated the information to officials working for National Security Coordinator Francis Poku, but “he (Mills) never heard back on this,” adding, “Mills confirmed that he takes this report seriously because of past apparent attempts to kill Rawlings and because of the fact that Rawlings has many enemies who would like to see him dead.
“As we have noted before, we are unable to judge Mills’s take on the assassination plot. Rawlings tends to be paranoid about his security,” the Political Chief observed.
The US official concluded in his report to Washington that “reconciliation between Rawlings and President Kufuor would continue to be difficult, despite Mills’s recent meeting with Kufuor and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.”
According to Wikileaks, President Mills also “commented” on his health by saying that he had received radiation therapy for a sinus infection. “Mills has increasingly opened up to Political Chief and was surprisingly willing to discuss his health in detail. This speaks to the closer relationship this Mission has forged with the NDC, which used to be more suspicious of the US and Embassy contact.
“Mills acknowledged that his opponents continue to use the issue of his health for political reasons. He told Pol. Chief he had contracted a serious sinus infection, probably from swimming, which a Chinese doctor friend in Ghana told him could be diagnosed using an MRI. Since Ghana did not have MRI capabilities at that time, his Chinese friend encouraged him to get an MRI in China, which he did.”
According to the report, the MRI confirmed Prof. Mills’s infection, which Chinese doctors claimed would have to be treated with radiation therapy, adding, “Mills said he did not want to have the treatment in China, which he was told would take six weeks. Instead he sought treatment in South Africa, where his nephew lives.”
Wikileaks said South African doctors confirmed the diagnosis and treated him with radiation in his nasal passages, adding that “as a result of the radiation and a sore-throat from the therapy session, he was unable to eat solids for several weeks and lost significant weight, which he was warned would be an expected consequence of the treatment.”
Mills had expressed his frustration about allegations that he had cancer or the most recent allegation that he had heart problems, but hoped the rumours would eventually die down, the report disclosed, adding, “He confirmed plans to go to South Africa for a routine health check-up, which he said he has long postponed.”
However, the Foreign Service Health Practitioner at post at the US Embassy disagreed with Mills’s explanation and stated categorically that the treatment candidate Mills had could not be for a sinus infection.
The Foreign Service Health Practitioner (FSHP) noted that “MRIs are usually not required to diagnose sinus problems unless a physician is concerned about tumours”.
The FSHP also noted that “radiation therapy is not usually used to treat sinus infections (usually antibiotics or surgical repairs are used), but that such therapy is more likely used to treat some form of cancer.”
According to Wikileaks, the embassy’s contacts including Ludwig Hlodze and Baba Jamal all confirmed that Prof. Mills was in good condition.
“Hlodze said Mills was controlling his weight under doctor’s orders. Jamal confided that Mills had some kind of throat cancer and said he was on the mend, although not yet fully recovered.
“In Ghanaian culture, a politician cannot admit to illness, so we should not expect Mills to be forthcoming on this, Jamal added. However, Mills is actively campaigning and should have no trouble running the course of the campaign, Jamal said, while admitting that Mills’s voice sometimes gets hoarse on election tours.”
“Mills confided that he was thinner now because he ‘gave up beer’ owing to sinus problem and lost weight in the process”.
According to Wikileaks, President Mills underscored the need for political reconciliation and promised that if he won the 2008 election, he would reach out to President Kufuor.
Wikileaks said Prof. Mills noted that he and Rawlings had serious differences in the past, and as a result did not see a significant role for himself in reconciling the two ‘Johns’ (Rawlings and Kufuor).
“He also blamed Kufuor, who Mills said is all smiles but a very vindictive person underneath and periodically fans the flames with provocative statements about Rawlings.”
Source: William Yaw Owusu
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