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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Columnist: Ali, Salifu

Rawlings: Stop Groping For Mills’ Corpse

At The Cemetery

Former President John Atta Mills is dead and gone. Human as he was Prof would have been the first to admit that he was not without blemish. There is however one incontestable truism to the life of President Mills that is perhaps his biggest legacy. In any sphere of public life that he found himself, the good professor served his country with utmost distinction.

Barely two months from today this nation will observe the first anniversary of his passing with the solemnity the occasion deserves.

President Mills traversed all the changing scenes of an unlikely lecturer turned reluctant public servant cum politician at the behest of President Jerry John Rawlings. It is this same Jerry John Rawlings who supposedly thrust him upon Ghanaians, vouched for him to become the flag bearer of the NDC and eventually the President of the land in 2009.

Ironically, it is this same Jerry John Rawlings who never gave the professor his peace of mind during the 3 plus years after he had ascended the highest office of the land as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. We all remember the constant haranguing and ululation that greeted President Mills every morning like the cock crow at dawn. Who can forget the cacophony of insults and denigration that came from Jerry Rawlings and his wife upon the hapless professor who chose to carry his cross with dignity?

On a day that former President Jerry John Rawlings, gave a lecture as part of activities marking the 34th anniversary of the June 4 uprising, President Mills did not escape the sharp teeth of JJ Rawlings as Ghanaians saw him groping for his corpse at the Asomdwee Park cemetery. Mr JJ Rawlings immediately went after ex-Presidents John Kufuor and John Mills blaming them for the many setbacks and reversals that have taken place within the past decade in Ghana. He lamented that, “Ghana appears to have been moving towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel, thanks to Presidents Mills and Kufuor/John II and John III. President Mahama has the responsibility to pull this country out of that tunnel. How well, how far and how soon John IV can achieve that is hard to say.”

If Ghana through the blinkered eyes of Rawlings has moved towards an irreversible situation down a tunnel during the time of President Mills, I don’t think President Mahama who was part of his government will still be occupying the highest office of the country. Simply put, President Mahama will have had no record to run on and therefore would have lost the elections to Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP fame.

Rawlings did not hide his disdain for President Mills when the latter decided to run the show from his own perspective during his presidency. Not a single day passed without Rawlings heaping insults on him. To the extent that even a day after the death of President Mills when the whole country came together to mourn him, Rawlings who was out of the country by then disparaged President Mills in an interview with the BBC.

As I write to you today, JJ Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings are still searching for the illusive time to go and visit Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills at her residence. Almost one year after his death, it is important to note that the Rawlingses have never visited Naadu to console her.

And yet, instead of allowing President Mills to rest in peace, Rawlings is still searching for his pound of President Mills’ corpse. Yet whilst President Rawlings continues to pontificate about his own piety, he has skeletons in his own bedroom that are creaking like the shock absorbers of an “ntaabo” truck.

We are yet to hear of President Mills off-loading a government concern like the Nsawam Cannery to his wife Naadu before he died without paying a dime to the state.

We are yet to hear any deal with President Mills involving the defunct Ghana National Trading Corporation. How much did Nana Konadu pay for the GNTC properties at Kanda, Ringway, Labadi and Kaneshie? Are her daughters and her friends not occupying the Kanda GNTC as we speak? Can she produce receipts for those acquisitions?

No Ghanaian can come forward and throw a bat at President Mills for giving the former Star Hotel to Naadu for renovations, which she eventually tore apart and sold the precious lands to foreigners for millions of dollars. And yet President Rawlings has the effrontery to talk about Ghana being turned over to foreigners.

When the history of the country is written, I don’t think anybody can step forward and accuse Naadu Mills of pocketing 5 million Cedis judgement debt for Calf Cocoa Processing Company in Tema?

Yet, with all this glaring evidence staring JJ Rawlings in the face, he seems to pretend that he does not know the kind of wealth his wife amassed whilst he was within and without office. This is the kind of person who always seeks to point accusing fingers at others whilst claiming innocence. We are sick and tired of the pretence of probity and accountability that President Rawlings keeps baying at us.

Rawlings has been telling people that President Mills is roasting in hell. How he got to know that, only God knows. But one thing Rawlings should realize is that he is currently doing well on earth with his Parkinson’s.

In the hearts of many Ghanaians, President Mills is a hero, father, brother, a consensus builder, loveable and someone who is not a self-seeking individual. Therefore, Rawlings should stop groping after his corpse from the Asomdwee Park since President Mills is resting peacefully.

Rawlings did his part as leader of the country. And so did President Mills and any other leader the country has ever had. But one thing that Rawlings should get clear is that, he is not the one who holds the key in determining the performances of past leaders. Its posterity which will judge every past leader of Ghana including Rawlings, therefore, Rawlings should allow President Mills to have some quiet.