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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Ban President Mills From Making Public Speeches!

The skills of public speaking can yield many benefits not only for the speaker, but also for the audience irrespective of the number of listeners present. For, it gives the speaker an opportunity to showcase his/her thoughts and feelings in a meaningful way. This paves way for the listeners to assess the speaker in many ways including his level of confidence, communications skills, and more importantly his personality as a human being. Remember, a person can only be judged as a ‘fool’ by his thoughts and the dirty remarks from his mouth and not by his outlook (dressing). It is for this reason that civil society and religious leaders are trying hard as a matter of urgency, to differentiate between rational human beings and 'born dogs' like Peter Otukonor, Baba Jamal, Kobby Acheampong, Agyenim Boateng, Koku Anyidohu, Bobie Ansah, Hannah Bissiw, Benyiwa-Doe, Twum Boafo, Tony Aidoo, and of course Richard Quashigah. Finding the difference will probably end the politics of insults that Prof. Mills and his NDC have bequeathed to Ghanaians.

When I called for the stripping of Prof. Mills' academic titles in one of my articles, a few of his admirers questioned the rationale behind my call. Though I directed those people to examine some of Mills' pronouncements and responses to national issues, especially those on corruption, motor accidents, strike actions, and gay rights and report back to me, I am yet to receive any feedback. When a person successfully delivers a good speech, the kind of personal satisfaction he experiences is unparalleled. For instance, a positive response from the audience makes the person feel proud and consequently improves his overall personality. Putting President Mills’ public speeches into proper scrutiny, one could easily see that he lacks charisma. The situation becomes worse when he airs his views on critical issues affecting the nation. When he is expected to demonstrate leadership qualities, then President Mills would be found wanting. It is in the light of this that people have begun to question his academic prowess, and his credibility as self-acclaimed Christian. I don't want to compare Prof. Mills to the flag-bearer of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in terms of speech delivery because that will amount to a waste of time. It will be like comparing the size of an ant with the size of an elephant. I will therefore not be surprised if we woke up one day and hear that the President’s speechwriters have been prosecuted for causing financial loss to the state because of the kind of speeches they write for our leader. They simply lack merit and when the president reads them with his hoarse voice, everybody sees the frustration in the faces of the audience. A case in point is the State of the Nation Address delivered on Thursday, 16th February 2012 by President Mills.

Apart from the comedy aspect of the speech, and the respect given to other dignitaries unlike his previous address (2011), the content exposed the incompetence of the president and members of his Team B administration. The most worrying and unfortunate aspect of the Address however, was Mills’ inability to hide his hatred against Mighty Asantes and his penchant determination to undermine the Asante Kingdom. But as I said in my previous article, we Asantes are what we are and we will continue to be so. Mills, the 'father for all' should channel his energy on the development of the nation instead of being vindictive to Asantes. His hidden agenda will never see the light of the day. Mills and his tribal elements with such inferiority complex should consult the Queen of England, and find out why the British people still hold the Asantes in high esteem. We, the prestigious sons and daughters of the Golden Stool will jealously guard against any form of threat of our three most cherishable values - the GOLDEN STOOL, ASANTE KOTOKO F/C and OUR DESIRE FOR FREEDOM, at all times because they represent our soul. It is for FREEDOM that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has found favour with the Asantes. When Prof. Mills wanted to start the unpopular capitation on the national health insurance scheme on pilot basis, no other region barring the Ashanti, was chosen and the reason given by the CEO of the scheme, Sallas Mensah, an Ewe, was that the region is the most populous. Good! The question I pose is; what prevented Prof. Mills to use the same yardstick for his ministerial and other political appointments? What is good for the goose, they say, is equally good for the gander. Since when did the one-time premium on the national health insurance turn into capitation, Mr. President?

Casting our mind back to January 2009, the ‘ecomini’ pronunciation, the shameful response to Kyinkyinka Muntaka scandal, and the president’s inability to show his only son at public functions have left the good people of Ghana dumbfounded. Why would the president blame the previous administration and leave Alfred Woyome out in a case that involves the payment of GHC 58m (580 billion old cedis) to his party member? “Okoter3 kowe ne mako ma aponkyer3ne teho fifire s3n?”And why would the president insult and accuse the media personnel of being corrupt for questioning him on the gargantuan corruption and crimes among his ministers and party faithful? Was it not the same professor who assured Ghanaians of his government’s determination to account for every pesewa of the oil revenue since the issue of corruption remained close to his heart? I leave the integrity of Prof. Mills for the judgment of the Ghanaian electorate on December 7th.

Personally, I thought our president would never mention the ‘elimination of schools under trees’ again after the stir he caused at the UN General Assembly last year. But who knows whether the law professor achieved his academic feat by studying in his parents’ kitchen. It still worries me as to why Prof. Mills has refused to come to terms with the inescapable fact that governance is a process and not an event; and that his administration WAS NOT THE FIRST to build school blocks and will NEVER BE THE LAST to do so. Why can’t the president accept the fact that with a population growth rate of 2% per annum, over 480,000 new babies will be added to the 24.3 million people in the country every year? I expect Prof. Mills to shut up his mouth on this 'schools under trees' mantra that has featured in all his speeches and interactions with the media in Ghana. The purpose of the GETfund, the DACF, etc was not meant to build ‘token’ mansions for his benefit but to be used solely for that purpose. If the missionaries - Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Islamic who constructed prestigious schools like Opoku Ware, Presec, and Wesley Girls High are not boasting about their laudable achievements, why should Mills and his NDC consistently disturb our ears?

Having been in government for three years and with 2012 being an election year, poverty-stricken Ghanaians expected Mills to show evidence of fulfilment of the 822 promises he made. Sadly, our president turned the August House into a political theatre and displayed his skills in comedy. The red card given to him by the minority group in Parliament was no doubt a befitting award to the president. The destiny of 24 million Ghanaians had been placed in his hands and thus Prof. Mills was expected to tell Ghanaians about the extent to which our oil revenue, export revenue, tax revenue, and more importantly the over GHC 16 billion loan facility had been maximised. The people of Dagbon, for instance, were expecting President Mills to name the ‘prosecuted’ killers of Ya-Na. The Ghanaian women wanted to know why the 40% ministerial appointments have remained elusive. Voltarians and the people of Brong-Ahafo, were anxious to know the student population at the two Propaganda Universities, that is, the University of Health and Allied Sciences and the University of Forestry Resources, which 'opened' in September 2011.

The security officers were eager to receive their keys to the 30,000 affordable houses ‘built’ by the Koreans. The Christians, Muslims, and the civil society were ready to see a concrete statement from Mills to demonstrate his commitment to the elimination of politics of insults. Furthermore, the parents and their wards wanted to know when the cost of education would come down so that they don’t have to provide wheel barrows and bags of cement as a condition for admission. The Ghanaian youth had also expected Mills to show them the number of decent jobs added to the 1.6million ghost jobs created in 2010 to make the Association of Graduate Unemployed null and void. Taxi drivers and passengers wanted to know when fuel prices will be reduced drastically. Whilst the people of the savannah areas had expected President Mills to explain why he has not been paying GHC 600million into the SADA every month, the Westerners were looking forward to hearing when the 10% of the oil revenue would be paid them. Had President Mills been able to address the above, then we could have said that the State of the Nation Address was meaningful. He failed on this occasion as usual to justify why he should be retained in office. Never again should the Parliament House be allowed to be used as arena for political comedians. We need a serious, charismatic, visionary, and a selfless leader; a leader who could be trusted as Nana Akufo-Addo has demonstrated over the years.

President Mills lacks the above credentials. He is timid, lazy, a liar and a big hypocrite. I doubt whether he have the courage to stand before the Ghanaian women, Voltarians, Brongs, students, teachers, Northerners, Christians, farmers, the unemployed youth, Muslims, security officers, and even his home region and ask for their votes. The founder of the NDC, Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings was right in stating that the NDC would have no message for the electorate in the upcoming elections. The use of unprintable words by the NDC communicators proves Rawlings right. I call on the Speaker of Parliament to ban Prof. Mills completely from engaging further public debates until a new president is ushered in 2013. This will keep the little reputation left in him as a leader until his retirement from active politics in December.



God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!



Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK



Official blog (www.katakayie.com) katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk 07944309859

“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”