Mills Hot

Matters arising out of the recent investiture of President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire have put President Atta Mills on the carpet, as his aides and propagandists go into overdrive to reverse the bruises he suffered on the diplomatic front in the heady days of the crisis. Because of the stance taken by President Mills in the infamous ‘dzi wo fie asem’ remark, which nearly rocked global efforts to remove Laurent Gbagbo from the Ivorian presidency, the Ghanaian leader was not among the leaders singled out for commendation by President Ouattara. The new Ivorian leader specifically mentioned Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigerian; Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso; Nicolas Sarkozy of France and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for praise for their untiring support for the people of Ivory Coast, without mentioning Ghana, its closest neighbor. Having realized their diplomatic folly, Mills minders went on the defensive in a bid to parry the charge contained on the websites of an Ivorian newspaper and the pro-Ouattara New Forces military grouping that President Mills is harbouring that country’s dissidents, an accusation which the Mills boys put at the doorstep of the largest opposition party in the country, the NPP. The NPP has returned the verbal fire, regarding the accusation as symptomatic of desperation on the part of the presidency to seek recognition, especially since, in the party’s view, they did not issue any statement in that regard. “The New Patriotic Party would like to state in no uncertain terms that they cannot be behind these publications by the New Forces and Le Patriote,” the statement signed by the party’s General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie indicated. The Mills/Mahama administration’s efforts to link the NPP to the publications, as quoted in two Ghanaian publications, according to the NPP, “is a desperate attempt on the part of President Mills to as usual, hide his incompetence and mistakes behind the vile propaganda of finding innocent scapegoats”. Koko Anyidoho, Head of the President’s Communications team, had earlier accused the NPP of being responsible for the contents of the Ivorian military group’s website, New Forces, and a local newspaper Le Patriote. The charge unsettled the presidency, hence the reaction. The Castle Communications detail, fighting tooth and nail to contain the repercussions of the aftermath of the investiture of the Ivorian leader, is dealing with another front regarding whether or not President Mills really played a role in the outcome of the military action taken by the forces loyal to Ouattara. Having lost face in the debate over whether he supported Ouattara or Gbagbo, President Mills is depending on a successful outcome of the campaign being waged by his communications team. In their efforts to ensure their boss is not denied any credit in the now peaceful Ivory Coast, they are rubbing in what they claim was the President’s role in getting the head of the Constitutional Council, Yao N’Dre, who was being accommodated in Ghana, to return to his country and swear in Mr. Ouattara. Koku Anyidoho told journalists at the Castle yesterday that without the return of Yao N’Dire, Ouattara’s investiture last Saturday could not have taken place, adding that his boss played a crucial role in what is now the new chapter in Ivorian politics. Many who observed the seemingly ambivalent posture of President Mills in the heady days of the Ivorian crisis are taking the statements from his Communications team with a pinch of salt. Ready to seize any opportunity that comes their way, the Communications detail, working almost in unison with some media outlets, has given what observers regard as a slant to the remarks from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon when he made a brief stop in Accra before attending the investiture of Ouattara in Abidjan. According to a state newspaper, the UN Chief described the President as the best leader in Africa, a report which has attracted the query of many a reader. According to some observers, the UN chief would have committed a diplomatic gaffe had he made such a remark. It would have been derogatory of other African leaders coming from a world No. 1 diplomat, they added. In his contribution to the ongoing efforts to make the President look good, Deputy Information Minister Baba Jamal took his turn yesterday when he told Oman Fm about the role of Ghanaian soldiers in Ivory Coast, as though such UN missions started only with the inception of the Mills administration. In their reaction to the alleged accolade from the UN chief, the NPP stated in their statement that “this is another reckless expression of the Castle’s desperation by attributing false quotes to international leaders and falsely accusing political opponents for being the cause of their own self-inflicted blunders.” The party noted that Koku Anyidoho’s allegations against it had exposed President Mills who they said “is not humble enough to accept when the consequences of his errors come back to haunt him.” The President, the NPP advised, should concentrate on undoing the repercussions of his ill-fated “dzi wofie asem” remark which he made when ECOWAS was entangled in the challenge of unseating the stubborn Laurent Gbagbo, even after the international community had declared his rival Ouattara the winner of the polls. President Mills, the NPP noted in their statement, attracted the derision of the international community and exposed Ghanaians to unnecessary fury in Ivory Coast. The party asked whether President Mills was oblivious to intelligence reports regarding the issue until the Ghanaian newspapers reproduced the contents of the Ivorian forces and newspaper websites. If that is the case, the integrity of the Research Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot escape a reprimand.