General News of Thursday, 2 August 2012
The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has stated that as far as he is concerned, the state of late President Mills' health was not shrouded in secrecy as is being peddled about by some politicians and a section of the media.
Mr. Pratt said from what he knew in the public domain and what the late President told him, there is no reason for him to believe that some aspects of his health was kept out of the public domain.
The veteran journalist who says he has known the late President J.E.A. Mills for over thirty years was speaking on Radio XYZ on Thursday in an extensive interview that touched on many facets of the life of Prof. Mills.
A section of the media and devotees of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have openly requested a full disclosure on the health status of the late president as well as the post-mortem results on the cause of death.
But Mr. Pratt who said he had a personal relationship with President Mills before his death said, anytime he met President Mills, he always "looked very strong and very confident". “Nothing was hidden about the Professor’s health as far as I am concerned... As far as I am concerned, only a post mortem will establish the cause of his death. What is happening in the media is again needless and sometimes mischievous speculation. I am not a doctor, I am not a pathologist, how can I pronounce on the cause of his death.”
Mr. Pratt said he is aware that the president engages in rigorous exercises every morning for one and half hours and therefore he was quite fit prior to his death contrary to the speculations making the rounds. “He was exceptionally [a] hard worker and all the people around him will tell you.”
One Of The Best Three Presidents
Paying glowing tributes to the persona of the late President, Mr. Pratt said: “Most certainly, I think that Prof. Mills was an extraordinary leader. He was an excellent leader… If you are looking for the three best presidents that Ghana has ever had, you cannot ignore Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He certainly is the primus inter paris – above all others – and then there is General Kutu Acheampong and Prof. Mills.”
“Prof. Mills was an extraordinary personality… It perhaps will take a very, very long time for Ghana to have another leader like Prof. Mills.”
Mr. Pratt averred that everyone knew Prof Mills was "particularly an honest person" and that all the negative things that were said about him were intended to gain unfair political advantage over him.
He said one critical legacy of the late president is the nearly-completed two public universities in the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions, stating “two universities in three and half years. That is remarkable. This is a sufficient monument to the president’s memory.”
He said President Mills suffered from the kind of politics that Ghana has elected to undertake and that due to the intense competition between the government and the main opposition, there is always an attempt to engage in muckraking to destroy ones opponent. “It is a politics of attacks and vilification,” he said.
He stated that unlike his friendship with President Kufuor – a man he fell out with after criticizing him over certain critical issues - President Mills maintained his friendship with him even after he harshly criticized the late president’s speech at the United Nations.
“The difference with Prof. Mills is that he took everything in his stride. He didn’t think that it was necessary to break up with his friends or harm his friends simply because they criticized him. Indeed he said publicly all the time that he welcomed criticism,“ he revealed.
Mr. Pratt said “as a matter of fact, Prof Mills will go down in history as the most tolerant leader that Ghana has ever had. Nobody can take that away from him.”
He debunked the assertion that the plethora of positive tributes being rained on the former president after his demise are as a result of the cultural dictates of Ghanaians, stressing, it is hypocritical.
Mr. Pratt took on opponents of Prof Mills who had accused him of sleeping on the job while he was alive only for them to nitpick and accuse the president’s handlers of overworking him. “He couldn’t have been sleeping on the job and working too hard at the same time,” he lamented.