Feature Article of Monday, 30 July 2012
Columnist: Bonsu, Akua
What would the past three and a half years of blundering soap opera of an administration be if it did not climax in a trail of disastrous missteps and a rendition of the movie Dumb and Dumber? The changing of the guard at The Castle while not exactly unexpected, was characterized by typical NDC mismanagement featuring unnecessary denials of the glaring, distrust amongst members supposedly playing on the same team, poor decisions before the change, and even poorer decisions after the change. Like a wise commentator remarked on one article, “if the NDC cannot even manage the president’s health and his funeral, how can we expect them to manage the affairs of the nation?”
Now what a whole nation suspected has been proven accurate. President Mills was extremely ill and he needed full medical attention much more than he needed to be shrouded in politically influenced secrecy. Clause 8 of Article 60 of our constitution states “Whenever the President is absent from Ghana or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Vice-President shall perform the function of the President *until the President returns or is able to perform*.” There is little ambiguity as to the return of power to the president when he returns so President Mills’ handlers had no excuse for not delegating power to VP John Mahama to pave the way for a full medical treatment. Rather they elected to mislead the whole nation forcing a president who could hardly walk to jog for the cameras upon his arrival back from medical treatment.
Furthermore, although Vice President Mahama was caught on tape telling some Volta Region chiefs that President Mills may not return from his New York trip and he (Mahama) is ready to govern, the NDC propagated that rumors of Mills’ death was started by the NPP. Meanwhile internally, the Mahama slip and the resulting pollution of Mills’ mind by the Castle staff had created a steamy tension between the presidency and the vice presidency such that Mills and Mahama were not on speaking terms as at the time the former died. Communication between the two institutions broke down resulting in Mahama walking into the presidency not being fully up to date on the nation’s pressing issues.
If this had happened earlier in the presidential term, President Mahama would be cleaning house at the Castle. Unfortunately with elections around the corner, he has to cow tow to the very people who held Mills hostage when he was president. Thus President Mahama cannot be expected to rock the boat; he has to subject himself to the same mismanagement by the same Castle Mafia that appears to be the only entity that can cement his nomination as flag bearer of the NDC.
It is thus not surprising that so far Mahama’s decisions and effectiveness have not differ from those of Mills. For example no sooner had he designated one full week of mourning, and consequently a ceasing of political activities did the NDC NEC come out to announce its decision to nominate him as the party’s flag bearer for the 2012 elections – an announcement that could have waited for a week in respect of a president’s designation. So far, all other parties except the NDC have heeded the one week moratorium – sound familiar?
Besides the disrespect, decision making has apparently been taken away from the new president. Last Saturday Minister of Communication Haruna Iddrisu announced that President Mahama had decided (we know better) to bury President Mills at the Jubilee House/Flagstaff House, the very place Mills swore not to go. “Haruna Iddrisu disclosed that President John Dramani Mahama took the decision which would see to it that a portion of the Flagstaff House is dedicated to the burial of Presidents of the country.” (Ghanaweb, July 28, 2012) The very next day, the funeral planning committee announced that President Mills “may not be buried” there.
Amidst the advantageous national mood of sympathy, the NDC appears to me sputtering as usual making politically motivated decisions when and where they should be making decisions in the interest of our nation. Like one Makola woman quipped: Mills and Mahama – the value is the same. And the Mills Mahama Mess continues unabated.