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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Columnist: Amenga-Etego, SaCut

Prof Mills Lacks Wise Counsel

I am absolutely sure of it that the biggest problem of President Mills of
Ghana is lack of wise counselors or advisors. I¹m even surer that he needs
an inclination for that kind of desired wise counsel-an inclination the
president has woefully failed to demonstrate since he became President. Why,
how can any leader ever lead successfully without the benefit of such
counsel? Perhaps, only in an Atta Mills Presidency can people delude
themselves with such a notion.
The last time I wrote an open letter to the President, I humbly cautioned
his Excellency to get his acts together as urgently as practicable before
ultimately losing his core support base in the NDC. And what did I get for
daring to make such a prudent suggestion? A flood of e-mail in my in-box.
You can guess the content of these messages that mostly came from naïve,
blind, sycophantic and avowed stomach supporters of the president. Many of
them cursed me for daring to evoke one of the cardinal principles that form
the bedrock of the NDC-the courage to speak the truth and stand by it no
matter the cost. There were others who commended me though for speaking out
openly what many of them had already been discussing privately. But one
thing became clear to me after my last letter to the President-many people
who call themselves NDC do not even have an appreciation of the core values
of this movement-and that includes the President.
I am not one of those who have been taken aback by the abhorrent behavior of
President Mills whiles in office. As for how he has treated the founder of
his party, it had long been predicted. And he¹s been on record as saying
that he will not treat President Jerry John Rawlings differently from
President Kufuor. Therefore, the reparation some of us have been advocating
and expecting President Mills to give to President Rawlings for the eight
years of damage and denigration from the Kufuor Presidency will only remain
a day dream. The ingratitude of President Mills is legendary without a
I first learnt of this in the run-up to the 2004 general election whiles I
was still a student in Cape Coast. That was an election he meekly conceded
defeat and earned himself and accolade the Œasomdwe hene¹ as though that was
worth it. One evening in the company of a couple of my colleague student
activists, we got the greatest shock of our lives from the man whose picture
boldly occupied the front of the T-shirts we regaled.
Apparently, upon his arrival at his sister¹s residence in Cape Coast during
a campaign tour of the central and western regions, President Mills had been
ill advised by his Œadvisors¹ that we were a group of opportunist students
who had come to meet him and try to get from him some favors. The truth
however is that, we had been given these T-shirts by his own sister who
revealed to us when Prof. Mills would arrive at her residence and encouraged
us to regale ourselves with them and meet him to invite him to give us a
talk in school. Upon her request, we were seated that evening and waiting
for Prof. Mills for several hours until almost mid-night. That night has
since remained one of the most regrettable nights for me as a youth
activists of the NDC.
Why, when we were finally asked to see candidate Mills, he was seated and
surrounded by a bunch of ingrates who were already day-dreaming of becoming
presidential aides and ill advisors. He was the first to address us-and it
was appalling. He spoke totally unlike someone who even dreamt of becoming
president. He said to us that he had been told that we were students who had
come to his sister¹s residence to seek campaign paraphernalia. Prof. Mills
asked us if his sister¹s residence was the party office and why we had come
I was not the leader of the group but I wished I was. Our leader had become
instantly timid-understandably. Although we were all shocked at the remarks
from the Prof. who wanted to become Ghana¹s president, our leader was even
more confused as he had the extra burden of responding appropriately and
respectfully. As would be expected, he fumbled through his response. He
could not even be coherent as he struggled to put his vocabulary together.
At this point, I only wanted to do one thing-remove that T-shirt of the
Prof. and throw it to his face. At the end, he said to us, that he would
see what he can do regarding coming to address us in school. We left his
presence immediately with disgust and full of regrets.
It became obvious to me that this Prof. was not a serious man worth my
energy in campaigning for. Here was a man who was running for president. A
group of student volunteers got invited by your own sister to come and meet
you. And if we came to your house for party paraphernalia-and yes, it was
not the party office-but in whose interest was it? Not you who is running
for president? So that if the Prof¹s so-called advisors ill-advised him, as
a Œpresidential material¹ he should have known how to handle such
information better than making it sound as though he didn¹t have a
Œpresidential mindscape¹. And as if he was going to do us a favor. But how
can you blame him if he does not have that Œmindscape¹. He simply cannot
fake it.
It didn¹t surprise many of my comrades who know about this experience with
the Prof. When I said in 2006 that the Prof. cannot rule Ghana with these
same people I met with him in 2004 as his advisors and with the same
inclination. With that kind of naked ingratitude shown to students rooting
for him to be president, how could you expect him to show any appreciation
to the foot soldiers or his financiers or even his political benefactors in
the NDC? And with such ill advisors surrounding a man who already lacks the
inclination for wise counsel, how would you expect him to act wisely and in
the interest of consolidating power for the NDC?
This is why when people say that I criticize the president unnecessarily; I
say back to them that they¹re supporting a man they don¹t even have an iota
of knowledge about. Some of us have been observing the Prof. since 2004 to
see if he will become different. That is why we gave him the benefit of the
doubt after he became our flag bearer in 2006 and supported him
unconditionally. Unfortunately, a leopard can never change its colors. The
president has continually confirmed to all of us who have eyes to see and an
open mind to think that he is not a leader that can inspire all others to
follow him and work for a common goal. He is a legendary ingrate who will
only learn his lesson after his reign has crumbled and there is no indelible
mark left behind to show for it.
There are those avowed supporters of the President who say that President
Mills¹ refusal to consult and take free advice from NDC founder and former
President Jerry John Rawlings is a demonstration of his independence as a
president who is of his own ideas. I¹m not sure if that is what Prof. Mills
really thinks he is doing. But if what his supporters say is true, it will
be the most naïve thing any President can do to ignore the rich counsel of
the man who introduced you to politics-such a priceless boon- in a bid to
demonstrate independence of mind when in reality you do not have what it
takes to be independent minded in the first place. After all, does he not
still take useless and destructive counsel from his bunch of ill advisors?
What is independent about that? And how does this so-called independence
inure to the benefit of his presidency? Did Prof. Mills become NDC leader
independently? Absolutely not! So where does this independence theory
emanate from? I guess it can only emanate from ill advisors whose only aim
is to cover up their own bad deeds that would suffer exposure by the former
President Rawlings whose commitment to the truth is equally legendary and
unmatched in our political landscape.
And that is why I say President Mills is in dire need of advisors to replace
the current bunch of ill advisors. Before then, let the president develop
ASAP the inclination to heed to such wise counsel or consider himself a
failed president. Less I forget let those who have suddenly woken up to the
reality that the NDC founder is indispensible to the fortunes of our party
in any present or future election-be it intra-party election or national
election-know where to direct their Œwise counsel¹. Let them be talking to
those ingrates in the NDC pressing the self destructive button and making
sure they listen. For no one else needs counsel than President Mills and
his ill advisors who have done him no single good since he became president.
They even convinced him to forget that he became president because he was
consecrated on June 4 in Swedru where he was famously declared by NDC
founder Jerry Rawlings as heir to the NDC Flag so that he now can violate
the inviolable June 4.
I¹m also of the opinion that it is also almost too late for the President to
make any amends to assuage the King makers in the NDC to retain him as NDC
leader. He would have to fight it independently. And I double doubt if
independent fighting for political power has ever been a part of the Œfather
for all¹ president who prefers to chase after the myth called Œfloating
voters¹ at the expense of the real people who put him there. Has he ever
heard the saying that a bird in hand is worth ten in the bush?
If I were to be an advisor to President Mills for just a day, the first
thing I would tell him is that there is a different moral code in politics.
That moral code is not called Œfather for all¹. It involves having two
faces: the man and the alpha man. Seeking retribution for injustices
perpetuated by public officials for example requires the face of the alpha
man. Not the meek man. Keeping your opponents far from the seat of
government does not require Œfather for all¹. Sustaining power does not
require praise singers around you as president and espousing gentleness. It
requires people who would look you in the face and tell you the truth. If it
is too bitter, why chew it. Just swallow it. I will hasten to add that no
single political opponent has given him applause since he declared himself
Œfather for all¹. If your political opponents will not applaud you for that,
what do you expect from your neglected followers? Further praises? No.
absolute abandonment!
And if the Œfather for all¹ moral code hasn¹t been prudent, why maintain
it. As I have said earlier, it is one of the most naïve themes of the
President to even declare himself Œfather for all¹ to Ghanaians when he has
woefully failed to unite his own NDC almost two years after gaining
political power. He has been Œfather for all¹ in the judiciary and what has
been the result; a disaster in the pursuance of justice. He has been
Œfather for all¹ in the public and civil services, and what has been the
result; sabotage and subterfuge. He has been Œfather for all¹ in the media,
and what has been the result; the opposition is shaping public opinion and
leading the discourse-even gaining a moral high ground. He has been Œfather
for all¹ business men in Ghana, and what has been the result; apathy from
his campaign financiers and colossal sums of money in the hands of his
political opponents.

I cannot and will not believe that the Atta Mills Presidency is working with
strategy. If it is, what is it called and what is its purpose? I¹m sure of
one thing; it is not a winning strategy, so: it is not worth it. I cannot
rest my case until the NDC flag and membership ID card is taken away from
this president whose values, views and ideals are anything but those of the

saCut Amenga-Etego (YFL General secretary and NDC youth activist)