In the early morning of yesterday, ETV, one of the nation’s latest additions to the growing communication industry, aired what was described as the preview of an interview President John Dramani Mahama had with an American network. The full interview was scheduled to be broadcast in the evening.
What is relevant in the few seconds broadcast in the morning was a statement by the Head of State on what he knew about the death of his predecessor. According to the President, he was instructed by his boss to represent him at an event at the International Conference Centre in Accra, on the morning of Tuesday, July 24, 2012.
According to President Mahama, he went to the event with Chief of Staff Mr. John Henry Martey-Newman. On their return just before mid-day, they went straight to their offices. It was then that a message came through that the deceased President was terribly ill.
A day earlier, that was on Monday, July 23, the fallen leader had failed to report at his office because he was feeling unwell, according to the narration by President Mahama, who was Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana and head of the nation’s economic team at the time.
If these narrations are right, then a number of questions need to be answered promptly. In the first place, if the fallen leader was not well the day before he died, why was information sent to Parliament on Tuesday morning, the day he died, that Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills was scheduled to travel by air that very morning for a tet?-a-tet? with Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan on Ghana-Nigeria bilateral relationships? Who caused that information to be sent to Parliament House, and what was it supposed to achieve?
If the President’s narration represents exactly what happened on that Black Tuesday, then the people of Ghana deserve to be properly told about why the Chief of Staff failed to accompany his boss and best friend to hospital? If Mr. Martey-Newmann was too busy to do so, why did he not arrange for a more senior person to take the late President to hospital?
Apart from the failure to ensure that the fallen President of the Republic had the best of medical care on his last day on earth, why was the medical team at the 37 Military Hospital not given prior notice of the President’s predicament before he was sent there?
There are more questions than answers provided in the circumstances leading to Prof. Mills’ joining his ancestors. That is why some of us are not impressed by the lavish funeral organised for him when he died. I am not suggesting that the former President would not have died if a more senior person had accompanied him to hospital. What I am stating here, is that it is strange that top officials, who were supposed to have enjoyed a very close relationship with the fallen Head of State, could abandon him at the time he needed their services most.
Death is inevitable. As human beings, we shall all taste death at one point in time. It is the way top appointees of the late Prof. Mills abandoned him at the time he needed their services most that baffles right thinking men.
Some of us have worried about the state of the good old professor’s health long before he contested for the 2008 elections. As one person who saw him a number of times before nominations closed for the 2008 elections, I might have touched on raw nerves anytime I suggested to the Ekumfi-born contestant to the highest office of the land to abandon his quest to lead the nation and concentrate on his deteriorating health.
My references to his failing health might not have pleased the deceased Head of State and those who propped him up. Innocent as I was, I thought it would do him a lot of good if he did not expose himself. I thought, and still do, that those around him misused his powers and rendered him ineffective.
The jury is still out on whether his Presidency has been of much benefit to the people of Ghana, given the many controversies like judgment debts, economic strangulation of the ordinary Ghanaian, and inconsistencies in information management. What strikes me in all these permutations is the correlation between the time of the ex-President’s departure to glory and presidential nominations which was originally fixed for September before he died.
In my third article in the series, I stated emphatically that I am not a conspiracy theorist. All the same, I would like to believe that there are some happenings and their timings which could not have been merely accidental. This President died in office, in my point of view, because his officials failed to be candid with Ghanaians about the health of the late President. It is a shame that the deceased Head of State himself failed to read the red alerts on his health.
The tendency to make ex-President Mills appear holier than thou was part of the gargantuan fraud perpetrated on the people of Ghana, using the myth officials had created about the suddenness of his death. To add to the confusion, those who misused the powers of the departed Head of State went ahead to create the image of divinity about someone who could not even be candid with the people of Ghana about his own health.
It is interesting that when Nii Lante Vanderpuye, National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary contestant for the Odododiodioo Constituency and an aide to the deceased Head of State, was preparing to outdoor the gargantuan launch of his campaign, and news was doing the rounds that the President health was deteriorating, and that it might be very difficult for the sitting Head of State, who was also the presidential candidate of the NDC to campaign, he told Ghanaians that the fallen President did not need to campaign.
“He was to stay in office, do what he has to do in the office, and when time permits that he has official duties to perform outside the office, we will talk for him. I will be the fore-runner for him. I’m preparing the ground for him, then he will step into Odododiodioo gallantly to wrap up.”
The Special Aide discounted the notion that the President could be unwell. “I know he is stronger than any presidential candidate,” Nii Lante added.
For me, as a social commentator, I am beginning to nurse the feeling that when the President’s health deteriorated, and evidence emerged within the party hierarchy that the deceased President could not be relied upon to deliver the vote, he was virtually abandoned to pass away quietly.
With the nomination for contestants fixed for September, time was not on the side of those who had packaged the image of the then terminally ill Prof. Mills to bring the party back to power aided by the inability of the people of Ghana to be discerning about the late President’s health.
Once bitten, they say, twice shy. The image makers might have realised that the inability of the late President and flagbearer to be seen on the campaign platform was very likely going to shoot the NDC campaign down. If nature was to solve their problem, who were they to stand in the way.
In my own estimation, that is what might have accounted for the poor handling of the late President Mills on his last day on earth.
The grand funeral, from my own point of view, was a means of diverting attention from the reality that the good old professor was used by party bigwigs to realise their dream of returning to centre stage of the governance process. Having achieved that, there was the need to look ahead, and that permutation could not have taken on board the physical presence of the late President, given the gradual deteriorating nature of the professor’s health.
Given the sensitive and emotional issue of the professor’s death, it is not unlikely that the views expressed here would become a sore point to those who gained by deceiving the people of Ghana about Prof. Mills’ health.
Before Rottweilers of the NDC would be let loose on me for expressing these views, I would only crave the indulgence of the authorities to explain to Ghanaians how a letter was written to Parliament House, announcing the departure of the gravely ill President Mills to Nigeria on the day he died.
As I wrote earlier, the whole concept of Mills’ Presidency, and his passing away while occupying Government House, has been a very bad dream. The nation was hook-winked by people who stood to gain from the leadership of a person who should not have got his name on the 2008 presidential ballot paper in the first place. The President died in office because his officials lied about his health. Unfortunately, the Professor too failed the candid test!


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