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Opinions of Monday, 5 March 2012

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

President Mills is Coming To America?

The first Sub Saharan African country Obama visited after he became president was Ghana in 2009. So it is proper and diplomatic for him to extend a similar invitation to our President, John Evans Atta Mills; just in case both men do not get a second term.

Though our sovereignty is not subjected to any foreign approval, the invitation is a moral boost for the country. If anything at all, it will help strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

President Mills’ invitation would make him the third and successive 4th Republic president to visit the White House. We wish the president a safe journey and successful visit but we have some expectations for him; or to put it in a better way, there are certain things that we don’t expect the president to do-with all due respect!

First, we expect the president not to act as if this is a visit to the “principal’s office,” as he did when he met UN boss Ban K Moon in New York last November. At the said meeting, Mills practically gave up the sovereignty of the nation to the UN boss, repeatedly and voluntarily assuring of him how he was going to oversee a free and fair election- as if the UN boss was the president of the country, and Mills, the EC boss. Five successive and successful elections speak for themselves.

Nor should the President, by over-emphasizing and over-exaggerating the above, do so by singing his usual apocalyptic hymn. Anytime he is on foreign soil, the president has sought to paint a picture of an impending Armageddon in December, 2012. Listening to or reading the president's speeches- from Canada to Cuba- one would have thought Ghanaians had been in the process of mobilizing men and weapons, ready to go at on election day and after. But that is not the case, so why the lamentations, Mr. president? Kindly check in your pessimism before leaving Kotoka. His optimism, trust and confidence in his stewardship, citizens, institutions and the county’s future, must show in his gait, for better or for worse.

Thirdly, no “free school uniform UN speech” on this trip Mr. President. It is about time Castle speech-writers start giving tax payers’ value for their money. If they have no material, they can fall back on Nkrumah and our historic independence. The trip is just days after 6th March after all. Enough said. Finally and importantly, we don’t want any “October Surprise” in your absence this time around. From the Atiwa bye- elections violence to “many ways to kill a cat”; from Dr Frimpong Boateng's firing to Woyome, the president was not in town when these “gargantuan” events occurred or the news broke. We pray that he does not return from the trip with another historic scandal waiting. The Woyome saga is enough for the rest of the year.

Happy 55th Independence Day, Mr. President. Enjoy your trip!

Akwasi A.Afrifa Akoto