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Opinions of Sunday, 7 March 2010

Columnist: Prah, Prince

Atta Mills: A President Who Does Not Respect Statistics.

In any other place but Ghana, it would amount to a basis for impeachment and for people to question the abilities and capabilities of the President to govern. But in Ghana I guess that eventually we are going to gloss over it and sweep it under the carpet, as usual.

In an interview broadcast on the Voice of America, President Professor John Evans Atta Mills expressed his complete contempt and disrespect for statistics.

Hear him, “We should not allow the churning out of figures to take the better side of us or else we get our fingers burnt…I don’t think there’s anyone in the country who can tell you the employment rate in the country!”

In other words, Mills does not care about statistics and yet he is a President of our country! For many intellectuals, the pronouncements from the President must come as a cold shower, awakening us to the fact that our President is unfit for the high public office he holds. If he does not respect statistics and the facts, on what basis is he making the many decisions he is making, if he is not looking at the numerical effect of his decisions?

We are in hell indeed. For me, the interview the president granted to Shaka Ssali goes a long way to expose our President as a duplicitous character who is unwilling and unable to take responsibility for the high demands of his office.

For instance, in that he interview, he blamed the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for the fuel shortages in 2009, because according to him, the NPP piled up huge debts. This is after governing for six months. I mean, if things were that bad when Mills came to power, the symptoms would not be manifesting in fuel shortages after six long months. It is amazing that after six months in office, he is still blaming the former government.

According to Mills, the previous government painted a picture that all was well and that the economy was thriving. The question I ask is did President Atta Mills say that the economy was thriving when he was campaigning? He made the entire nation to believe that the economy was in trouble, so why is he shouting at the rooftops that the economy is in trouble? In any case, would an economy that is in dire straits attract the whopping 535 million dollar aid that it recently attracted from the World Bank? The President should come again!

I listened to the president as he justified the attacks that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has been mounting on the freedoms and rights of former government appointees with the claims that his own wife was detained for three hours. Clearly, our President, who is a law professor, has scant respect for rule of law.

His views are clouded by his own bitterness at the perceived ill-treatment he and his party received in times past. Otherwise, if it was his legal training and not his emotions speaking, he would have had huge problems with the detentions and interrogations of the BNI, especially when they are taking place without legal counsel.

A first year law student would tell you that t is wrong to interview suspects when their lawyers are not present, which is what the BNI has been doing, and which is what the President has endorsed. With a president like this, Ghanaians can only expect further abuses of the rights of more Ghanaians.

But for me, my biggest problem with President Atta Mills, when he spoke to VOA, was when he said that he owes nobody any apology over how his government has been treating opponents of his government and that there has been no discrimination under his regime.

It is a well-known truism that one cannot cure a deformity without first correctly identifying that deformity. The President’s inability to recognize that there have been huge levels of discrimination under his watch should be a problem for all of us, because there has indeed been a lot of discrimination.

We were in this country when 1200 young Ghanaians who had received appointment letters to be recruited into the Armed Forces were turned back for no good reasons. The real reasons, however is that the new government thinks that they are NPP. When the President had his first press conference, a large section of the press was turned away because of their perceived political leanings. The Ghana School Feeding programme is in trouble because experienced caterers are being turned away because it is felt that they have political allegiance to the former administration.

In all fairness, I wonder how Atta Mills can say that there is no discrimination under his administration when all this is going on! In this man, we have a bitter old man who is only out for revenge. But more deadly to our situation is the fact that he is incompetent, intellectually and attitudinally, for the position he occupies, because, in his own words, he does not respect statistics, facts and figures.

Source: Prince Prah