Feature Article of Saturday, 28 July 2012
Columnist: Jackson, Margaret
By Margaret Jackson
It is with the greatest pain that I have mustered some courage and strength to pour out my heart about what has been eating me up for a long time now. Never in the history of the Ghana’s politics have we ever witnessed what happened in the past three and a half years. The late President John Evans Atta Mills is on record to have been on the receiving end right from day one after he was sworn into office on Wednesday January 7, 2009.
It was the commonest feature in Ghana to hear insults upon insults being heaped upon ex-President Mills on both radio and television every single day that he was the Commander-in-Chief of the country. But in spite of all the insults, lambasting and name calling, for the love of the country and for the benefit and utmost interest of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), ex-President Mills bore the pain and shame silently.
In honour of this great and selfless statesman, I have decided not to amplify some of the unpalatable words used against him. What even breaks my heart was the constant rumour that he has died or was dying. If you ever venture to the ghanaweb.com, joyfmonline.com and peacfmonline.com among others, President Mills became the chewing stick of many people who go there every single day just to slam him.
Never in the history of Ghana have we seen or heard a sitting President vilified and verbally abused more than ex-President Mills. Teenagers and young adults who could easily qualify as grandchildren, great grandchildren and children of President Mills used the radio and television to slight him daily.
Some prominent members of his own NDC party did not allow President Mills to have a breathing space, as they tore the man’s impeccable reputation into shreds by calling him names. Even in death, one of them is still breathing heavily on the poor man’s corpse which is lying in icy cold at the morgue why funeral preparations are underway.
Ex-President Mills was the favourite punching bag of the opposition. Nothing was done or said without President Mills being put on the carpet. And I give the utmost respect and credit to President Mills for not saying anything in return. Nobody can come out to say that they heard or saw President Mills jabbing back. For the love of NDC President Mills kept mute.
The excruciating pain that President Mills went through was unbearable. And I can say with certainty that there have been numerous occasions that President Mills has cried after listening to the insults against him. But after going through the pains President Mills always raised his head higher and soldiered on with his work of bettering the lot of Ghanaians. Most people in Ghana may not know that when you are verbally abused severely and you harbour the pains within you, it can have a heavy toll on your health.
We all remember this famous story in the bible concerning Paul when he complained to God about the thorn in his flesh. God in His wisdom told Paul that His grace is all what he Paul needed to soldier on. Therefore, God’s grace is all what President Mills got to soldier on with the thorn in his flesh – the daily verbal abuse on radio and television.
Many men of God who heard about the insults being heaped daily on President Mills turned the other way and assumed that all was well. I never heard many of the prominent men of God ever standing up to call the citizens of Ghana to order.
We woke up on Tuesday July 24, 2012 not knowing what God had in store for Ghanaians. The God who gave us President Mills realized that enough was enough. The thorn which has been in his flesh for the past three and half years was unbearable and had reached its zenith. Therefore, God in His own wisdom quietly and peacefully called President Mills to eternity at exactly 2:15 pm on Tuesday.
The pain, shock and grief which have engulfed the country is unbearable to most Ghanaians. The NDC family is totally broken but I must say that they have so far handled the demise of President Mills, one of the greatest men Ghana has ever produced with grace.
Hear Rev. Nii Amoo Darko, Member of the Council of State and a close confidante of President Mills in his own words, “Prof. Mills used himself as a sacrificial lamb and dedicated his life to the service of this country till he died in the process. The late president on numerous occasions defied the wise counsel of doctors to rest and rather stepped into the office to work because there was too much to do.”
The Asantehene Osei Tutu II, who described the demise of President Mills as a huge and painful loss to the country also stated that, “His rise to the highest political office was phenomenal and his leadership was full of modesty, humility and sincerity.”
Newly sworn-in President John Dramani Mahama, who has still not come to terms that his mentor, friend and father figure ex-President Mills is no more said something that was very remarkable and need to catch the attention of all NDC members and lovers of ex-President Mills.
President Mahama promised to continue to pursue the peaceful legacy of the late President Mills to create a more united and stable Ghana and also to continue with his “Better Ghana Agenda.”
Most people in the NDC family may never understand why God took President Mills away five months to the crucial polls which is a make or break for the two leading parties in Ghana, the NDC and the NPP. But I can say with all certainty that President Mills laid his life for the NDC. Who would be the punching bag of those who go on radio and television stations daily? President Mills suffered silently and painfully for the NDC and mother Ghana. His death will surely coast the NDC to victory to serve as a positive and lasting memory to those love him. His memory can better be served if all the NDC foot-soldiers wake up and work tirelessly towards the victory of the NDC in December 7, so that we can all honour this great man who came to politics to serve rather than make money.