I could have predicted from the get-go that the so-called Atta-Mills Park, Geese Park or Asomdwoe Park, where the first Ghanaian leader to die in office is buried, was not going amount to a proverbial hill of beans. For starters, the mausoleum was not, like most things Ghanaian and National Democratic Congress-oriented, planned in advance; and so it woefully lacked a comprehensive package that ought to have included its upkeep. Besides, no legislation had been passed in Parliament declaring its status as a historic national landmark or monument to be regularly maintained by public-salaried employees and periodically repaired and/or renovated by the National Park Service, for example. In short, it was a sheer propaganda piece aimed at courting the sympathy of Ghanaian voters in the lead-up to the 2012 general election. And once it had served its momentarily expedient purpose, it had to logically lapse into abject neglect and desuetude (See “Koku Anyidoho Blames NDC Government for Bad State of Mills’ Tomb” Kasapafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 2/28/17).

Five years on, the apparatchiks of the erstwhile Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) can only hang their heads down in shame. But, of course, the NDC Abongo Boys are not a people possessed of even the most piddling sense of shame. In Justice Dotse’s memorable and immortalized words, with the Mahama Posse, it was all about “creating, looting and sharing.” And true to form, they have been creating, looting and sharing all these past five years. And now, the former Atta-Mills Communications Director would have the rest of the world believe that anybody really cared about the tomb of the man the cause of whose death his own deputy could not account to Ghanaian citizens, much less give a damn, or a hoot, whether his tomb was well preserved or not, for whatever that may be worth.

Needless to say, not many Ghanaians have so soon forgotten the scandalous jubilation with which then-Vice President John Dramani Mahama celebrated the passing of his immediate boss, as one that had been auspiciously designed by Divine Providence in His / Her inscrutable wisdom. So, it is rather amusing to hear Mr. Koku Anyidoho bitterly and belatedly lament a man whose death was never really mourned. Was it the famous British novelist (and sailor?) Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson who had Long John Silver, in his classic book about pirates in the Caribbean say, with smug self-assurance, “Dead men don’t bite!”? Well, Mr. Silver may have been stupendously wrong, if only there is any such a flamboyant expression in the context used herein. For, finally, the late President John Evans Atta-Mills is not only beginning to gnaw, but he is also actually beginning to bite hard at the consciences of reckless political freeloaders like Mr. Anyidoho, one of the legion Deputy General-Secretaries of the National Democratic Congress.

Mr. Anyidoho would have the government of the day assume control and responsibility for the upkeep of the gravesite of the former University of Ghana’s tax-law professor. So far, President Akufo-Addo, who was contemporaries with the man, has promised to step up to the plate. And this is all well and good; except that no one can reasonably expect the upkeep of the Atta-Mills tomb to be among the topmost priorities on the to-do list of the living. Maybe this could have been expected, if the late President’s kinsfolk and clansmen and women had heeded the reasonable voices of those of us who had called for the mortal remains of the man to be rested or interred among his own. Not that the present state of the Atta-Mills tomb could have been wholly avoided. For instance, a relative of mine who recently visited the tomb of President Edward Akufo-Addo, the father of Ghana’s current President, lamented the deplorable state into which the tomb of one of Ghana’s finest scholar-jurists of the twentieth century had fallen. In sum, clearly, Mr. Anyidoho had better not expect too much love for the dead from the government of Nana Akufo-Addo. Or could he?

Indeed, Mr. Anyidoho hit the proverbial nail dead on its head, recently, when the man who claims to dream by the second about my good, old Uncle Tarkwa-Atta announced the, obviously, afterthought, establishment of an Atta-Mills Institute to take care of all things Atta-Mills.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York