Dead men indeed they say don’t talk. Late Ghanaian President, Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills would have at least by now been compelled to utter a word from his resting abode at the Asomdwe Park to express anguish and disappointment at the level at which members of the National Democratic Congress remain nonchalant when his legacy is being bastardized almost on daily basis for no justification.
It is a known fact that the late President was the most abused, heckled and ill-treated President in the history of the country, especially in the fourth Republic. A development many have attributed to his ill-health and sudden demise on July 24, 2011.
Whereas it is customary in the Ghanaian traditional settings that “you don’t speak ill of dead people” and anybody who dares go against this maxim is dealt with accordingly, the case of the late President seem different as some individuals in the ruling NDC, who professed to love him when he was alive and indeed, benefitted immensely from his deeds, looked on unconcerned as he is repeatedly chastised by former President Rawlings and members of the New Patriotic Party.
Former President Rawlings, who became the late President’s fiercest political enemy when the latter became President, has not called off his hatred for his former vice President even after his death, to the extent that at the least opportunity, he makes comments that impugn on the integrity of the late President.
Though Mr. Rawlings is credited for breathing life into the late Professor’s political life and even made sure he was made the party’s flag bearer to succeed him, the founder instigated almost all the attacks on Mills throughout his three and half years in government. Indeed, he aided his wife to form a party with the sole aim of causing a defeat for him in his second term bid.
This was after the NDC founder supported his wife in a fruitless attempt to topple Prof Mills’ 2012 bid at the party’s 2011 congress at Sunyani. But as fate has it, the late Mills did not even live to contest the 2012 election and per the constitution of Ghana, his vice president, John Mahama was later to be sworn in as President and subsequently made the NDC’s presidential candidate, which resulted in a win for the party.
Ironically, whereas many thought the NDC would have owed a debt of gratitude to the late Prof Mills for his selfless, loyal and dedicated service to the party and Ghana, a development that obviously hastened his death, members of the NDC seemed thankless for the sacrifices of the late President.
And to the extent that anytime his legacy comes under serious attack, particularly from the NDC founder who has consistently accused him of institutionalizing corruption by not fighting the injustices of the Kufuor administration, no single soul in NDC; in fact not even President Mahama who benefitted immensely from him, goes to his defence.
If for nothing at all, President Mahama who has professed to be the luckiest vice President in the history of Ghana if not the world, apparently due to the confidence the late Prof Mills reposed in him and provided him all the needed visibility and duties to prepare him for President, should be seen in solidarity with his former mentor.
But even more disturbing is the fact that, President Mahama and his functionaries as if by design have been making frantic efforts to dissociate the current government from the Mills’ regime. Legally, it is accepted that the Mills and Mahama regimes are distinct but in reality, the latter’s regime is a continuation of the former’s administration and it would therefore be obdurately unwise to attempt to decouple the two administrations.
Very often, the President and his functionaries have maintained and stressed on the fact that this is the President’s first term in office as if to suggest that President Mahama was not part of the Mills administration. On the face of it, it is true that President Mahama is serving his first term, but mentioned must also be made of the fact that he served as vice President under Mills, so he cannot consider that regime as a ‘side-plate’ of his administration.
There is a saying that if you marry a widow, you must be ready to take care of her children but not only be interested in making new babies with her. The NDC, having touted the achievements of the Mills regime to win the 2012 election, cannot today attempt distancing itself from the lapses of the Mills administration.
So far as the current government continues to beat its chest with the achievements in the Mills era, it must be ready to embrace its liabilities and defend it regardless, be it from the NDC founder or the opposition.
Though it wasn’t the style of the late President Mills to respond to his critics, it behooves on the Mahama administration and the NDC to safeguard his legacies and integrity. President John Atta Mills served the NDC and the country well; we should therefore allow him peaceful eternal rest.
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