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Opinions of Monday, 13 August 2012

Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku

Adios, President Atta Mills!

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

Last Wednesday to Friday witnessed the burial and funeral rites of President J.E.A Mills, who died on July 24, this year at the 37 Military Hospital after a short illness. His fall really came as a shock to us all.
Everybody, including political opponents mourned the sad fall; the spirit of “we feeling” engulfed the nation in our expressions of shock and sorrow. Our tradition debars us from talking ill about the dead no matter what.
Our dead president was accordingly given all the necessary respects and honor. He was massively eulogized for being humble, peaceful and God-fearing. Ghana was in red and black, as streams of tears run down the cheeks of everyone.
Being the first time in the nation’s history that a sitting president has passed on, one could easily understand why we were massively shocked and sad.
The abrupt halt of all political activities by the largest opposition party, NPP, for instance, upon hearing the sad news on that fateful Tuesday was lovely and commendable. Other parties, religious and traditional authorities, civil society organizations, diplomats and individuals also did well by mourning.
The media cannot escape mention for professionally disseminating the news to every corner of the country. The consistent doleful flute songs by the electronic media did raise the barometer of sorrow in the country.
Newspaper and online tributes of the 68-year-old President, who managed to control the nation’s purse for a little over three and a half years, were very touching.
As usual of politics, critics expressed reservations about the leadership style of late President Mills and blamed him for the woes of citizens. Some interesting names were also given him that this piece cannot recap now.
It is true that the issue of our late President’s health was not handled well enough. Some NDC party and government officials did lash Nana Akufo Addo, flag bearer of NPP, for wishing the late leader well in his recent trip abroad for medical treatment prior to his death. The seemingly goodwill message of Nana Addo was surprisingly described as being phony.
With all this, one would have thought that members of the NPP would show little concern for the sudden misfortune. They did their best for the demised leader to successfully go home.
As we laud government for supervising a smooth transition of power, the role played by other relevant institutions and bodies, like the Parliament must not be overlooked. The move by the Appointments Committee of Parliament to vet the vice-presidential nominee in public was classic.
Though faced with some challenges, the Totobi-Kwakye-led Funeral Planning Committee and the security personnel also deserve some commendation. We thank the committee for not burying President Mills at the Flagstaff House, a place he refused to occupy while alive.
The committee should do well to quickly tell us how much went into the whole event to serve as a guide for the future. Entitlements due the wife, son and family of the late president should be released to them as soon as possible for life to move on as normal.
Our dead leader deserves better honor and respect than just mourning. Let’s strive to absorb his acclaimed qualities of humility, civility and intelligence. We must do our best today so that tomorrow we can also be remembered.
Is there any justification for one to say that the ruling NDC will retain power on grounds of sympathy? Until they work extra hard devoid of vile propaganda in this eleventh hour, relying on late President Mills’ achievements alone will mean nothing to the electorate.
There are unsolved problems that our fallen president, I believe, would have wanted to tackle before elections and not forgetting those promises he would also have made during the campaigns.
The vim our late leader had for the impending elections when he returned from his “routine medical check-ups” at the US was striking. After trotting at the Kotoka International Airport upon arrival, the good old professor did assure Ghanaians of utmost fitness to lead his party into victory in December.
As we bid him goodbye, let’s renew our resolve to make the December polls free, fair, transparent and peaceful. President John Dramani Mahama must endeavor to honor the memory of his mentor with exemplary leadership.
It is not enough to tell electorate to vote based on who was born after independence. We want to see how this four-month or so period to elections will be used to address issues pertaining to the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), judgment debts, national health insurance, capitation grant for schools and many more.
Once again, we say, President Mills, Hede Nyuie! Mia Dogo!! Rest in Peace!!!