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Feature Article of Thursday, 2 August 2012

Columnist: Diedong, Richard Dombo

The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

The logic in this oxymoron goes to the root of the fact that the governance of the country must never experience a vacuum. Therefore, even as one President [Mills] kicks the proverbial bucket, another [VP John Dramani Mahama] immediately succeeds to the presidency. Therefore even as we say goodbye to a dead president, the presidency itself lives on through the succession.
As this is a truism, there is a sound presumption that for the succession to be as immediate as it was with Veep JD Mahama taking over from late Pres Mills, that the successor must be in place long before the fact. In this instance, JD Mhama was the VP, who according to Ghana’s constitution, inherits the unexpired term of the deceased president. Along with this presumption also go the fact that the successor-in-waiting must be exposed to, privileged to, and part of the agenda and policy decisions of the incumbent president and his government. In essence, the successor president would be inextricably linked to the government of which he was Vice President. With this as an irrefutable background, it is pertinent to address the new president of Ghana, HE John D Mahama in light of the question whether he can take the country down a different path from that of his predecessor Pres Mills, and whether he can be exonerated from the record of his predecessor to whom he was Vice president.
Let us recall the immediate aftermath of the death of Pres Mills, and the outpouring of grief and other comments from highly placed sources. Ex-President JJ Rawlings threw the bomb-shell announcing that the late president functioned for only 3 hours a day during a significant period of his presidency. Questions this shocking revelation throws up include: (1) who was running the country outside of those three hours?; (2) As Vice President, JDM would’ve known the true state of Pres Mills’ health, therefore was he in charge whilst Mills took time out each day due to ill health; also, (3) was JD Mahama part of the elaborate lies spun by the government and NDC party to hoodwink the good people of Ghana as to the true state of health of the elected president? If so, (4) is current President John Mahama not inextricably tied to the mess that was President Mills’ reign?
At least we now know why things were apparently so unmanageable under pres Mills – he was surely not in charge due to poor health but inexplicably would not relinquish power. But then with ‘someone’ in charge who logically would’ve been the Vice President, it goes without saying that most of the mismanagement occurred under the undelegated but actual watch of John Mahama. Should John Mahama as then Vice President, wish to deny being in charge of the chaos that passed for governance whilst Mills was largely incapacitated, he has to answer what he was doing whilst knowing his boss, the President could not govern beyond three hours a day. John Mahama has to further answer who the de facto president was during that long period, if he wasn’t. Finally, he has to answer the charge of dereliction of his constitutional duty as Vice president, if he asserts not being the apex of authority whilst he clearly knew the President could not perform his constitutional duty beyond three hours in the day. If he cannot name the de facto president other than himself, would he logically not fit the label of being part of the elaborate and sustained lying NDC/ Government circus that sought to keep the Ghanaian electorate in the dark about their elected president’s state of health?
Whilst President John Mahama may be enjoying an Indian summer as beneficiary president for the unexpired 5 month term of the late President Mills, he should not be in any doubt that genuine sympathy for the deceased pres Mills would not extend to his and the NDC’s bid for another term of office. After the traditional and respectful period of mourning and laying to rest of Pres Mills is done and dusted, he will have to respond to the above questions and more. He will have to justify his unwarranted expectation to be entrusted with a mandate of his own and an extension of that of the NDC, in spite of the chaos he supervised in his caretaker role for the large part of Mills’ reign whilst Mills was unable to function beyond three hours a day. Mark US President Abraham Lincoln’s words: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Ghanaians may have been fooled for a long time by both the deceased president Mills and his NDC, but Ghanaians cannot be take for granted of being capable of being fooled all of the time!
Indeed, The King is dead, Long live the King! John Mahama, was an essential part of, and a continuation of the Mills mess in government. Therefore the equation is: Mills/Mahama mess [MMM] and Ghanaians would do well to remember this and not be further fooled by plays for the Mills sympathy votes.

Written by: Richard Dombo Diedong

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