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Opinions of Sunday, 11 December 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

Is Mills A Hypocrite Or Simply Not In Charge?

ls he or is he not, that is the question. And that what citizens have been trying to find out three year into Mills' presidency.

In fact, this question could easily be settled if we were to go by P-ndc MP for Lower Manya, Teye Nyaunu's famous and eye opening quote that under President Mills "every minister is a president." But it behooves on us to dig further into the matter.

Now, the president's Janus-like attitude can be broken down as such: things which happen contrary to what he preaches; things which happen in his absence; and his ability to find himself out of the country any time unfavorable news is on the way; especially when his people are to embark on the most offensive of attacks. While on paper the president's dilly-dally can easily be categorized, in reality, it is very hard to pinpoint where one starts and the others end. The following examples would help share some light on the issue under discussion.
When the P-ndc lost its first vindictive court case brought against NPP officials , the president was not in town; when he knew his party would lose the Atiwa by-elections, he skipped town to avoid the humiliation-and also to avoid being held responsible for the pre-planned violence his party visited on the constituency; when his party chairman threatened to "kill" the judges, he was not in town.
In more recent times, he scheduled his - current- vacation to coincide with the reading of the worst budget in the history of the 4th Republic. When his spokesperson threatened to "kill" opposition leaders -if they misbehave- he was not in town. When his party communicators insulted the head of the Ahmadiyya mission and the Catholic bishops, the president was no where to be found.
Then who is not aware of the violence and insults that have descended upon the country since he took power; even though he constantly preaches about peace and vehemently condemns insults. One would never had expected the by-elections meant to test his approval ratings to be characterized by such violence - including voters being run down and over by his party's women's organizer's car - judging by his peaceful posturing. Even the founder of his party and his wife have not been spared; not to forget the physical harassment of his party founder's wife by the president's own people in the president hometown simply because she dared to contest him. Nor must we forget the arrests of political pundits for exercising their constitutional rights to free speech though he claims to be the number one upholder of the Constitution.
So when one takes a critical survey of the president's actions -or lack thereof- it is as if he privately instructs his people to be as violent and insulting as possible while he pretends to preach otherwise publicly. Or his people simply don't respect him - since he is not in charge- and thus do whatever they want in spite of the president's constant call for peace and his abhorrence for insulting behavior.
It therefore comes down to this: the president continues to tell the whole world that he intends to oversee and ensure a violent free and fair elections in 2012. Yet for the past three years, he has not been able to restrain his people from violence and insults. None of his people on public payroll has been fired. Nor has he condemned any one for going against his expressed and explicit wishes.
So given the above examples and evidence, should we take the president's word for it and at face value when he tells the world that next year's elections would be violent free and fair? Is he a hypocrite or simply not in charge?
Is he or is he not, that is the question. And that is precisely what citizens would like to know with less than a year left to go.

Akwasi A.Afrifa Akoto