You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 10 19Article 221939

Opinions of Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Strip President Mills of his Academic Titles - Katakyie

The significance of academic qualifications in modern societies can never be underrated at all for those who possess them apart from the honour bestowed on them, are also better placed to help in the socio-economic and political development of the societies concerned. It is against this backdrop that parents, together with other stakeholders in education spend substantial amount of money with the view to ensuring that their children climb to the highest level of the academic ladder. It is an undeniable fact that a genuine academic qualification remains one of the major criteria for securing a better job, including consideration for public or political appointment. It is in this light that 50.23% of the Ghanaian electorate considered a former vice president, a university don, and a former tax commissioner, Prof. John Atta Mills for the highest office of the land in December 2008. The conviction was that the law professor could propel the country to a greater height. It is nearly three years in office and the question I pose to readers is that; has Prof. Mills lived up to expectation as a president?

The following analyses would probably give a perfect answer to the question. My genuine call to strip the president of his academic titles is necessitated by his incapability of handling issues of national importance including the recent handling of Ghana Medical Association’s (GMA) preventable strike. Our president, John Mills is reported to have said that the NPP administration never left any money in the national coffers for the implementation of the new pay structure. When I read the statement, I quickly attributed it to a primary school pupil because I never believed such a statement could be passed by a JHS graduate let alone a president of the Republic of Ghana. This is because the statement lacks political maturity and is an affront not only to the academia and medical practitioners, but the NPP and Ghanaians as a whole.

Fellow Ghanaians, permit me to share this story with you. Once upon a time, there lived a married couple in a village. These couples were not wealthy but they lived happily for 8 good years until the unexpected happened. In other words, the woman became fed up and wanted a divorce. All pieces of advice to get her rescind her decision proved futile because she wanted a new adventure. In the course of her decision to break the relationship, a man who was so desperate for marriage approached her and made a proposal. The man promised her a “Better Marriage”, which could see a massive improvement in her circumstance; a “Better Marriage” that could give her posh cars and new mansions. The woman became convinced, divorced her husband and finally wedded her new lover. The first year passed and there was no sign of a new car. The second year passed and the promised mansion never materialised. In the third year in which her new lover declared as an “Action Year”, the woman’s living condition deteriorated beyond description. The woman became frustrated and one day, she boldly questioned and blamed her new lover about his failure to honour his numerous promises, especially the new car and the mansion. This was the reply from her new husband; “My dear wife, blame not me but your ex-husband because he did not leave any money for me to provide your needs”.

My dear readers, if you were the woman, what would be your reaction or response to such a statement from your new husband? I would be grateful if you could direct your all answers to President Mills and his NDC government for them to know how they have brought the Office of the President under disrepute, made a mockery of governance, and how they have exposed their ignorance, immaturity, intellectual dishonesty, incompetence, and academic bankruptcy to the public. Our president expected the previous government to have left money in the national coffers for him to implement the single spine salary structure. My goodness! How and why? Could Prof. Mills honestly tell Ghanaians how much money his administration left in the national coffers in 2001? Again, can our president do us a favour by quoting from any book or an Article in the 4th Republican Constitution that mandates previous administrations to leave some money for in-coming ones? In any case, how much did Mills expect President Kufuor to leave behind so that some of us could do a silver collection and hand it over to him? Besides, has president Mills paid all the wages and salaries of the public and civil servants, including his ministers of state since January 2009? If so, where did he get the money for that purpose?

May I also know from John Atta Mills, the whereabouts of our oil revenue that gives us $100million a month? What has our export revenue from minerals and agriculture gone or has Ghana been banned from exporting her agricultural and mineral resources? What about the direct and indirect taxes, especially the value added tax and road tolls, which have seen persistent astronomical increases? Can I ask our president to pinpoint a single project completed with the GHC10 billion loan facility from Ghana’s Development Partners? Where did Atta Mills get money for the celebration of Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday which cost $4.8 million? Where did our president get the $3million as donation to the people of Haiti? Mr. President, Ghanaians would like to know how your wife, Naadu Mills managed to donate a wrist watch valued at $48,000 to Mrs. Obama in 2009? Again, in January 2009, your transition team misapplied $1.3million on tea, whilst Alhaji Muntaka spent $20,000 on his girl friend. Whilst your administration recently bought five military aircrafts at a cost of $250million against public will, 1000s of dollars were also spent on NDC supporters on a trip to South Africa to watch the 2010 World Cup. Besides, looking through you top 50 achievements, I could see the completion of some old projects and new ones and I hope all these projects were funded. Your government also boasts of clearing the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) debt claims to have increased the ‘capitation grant’. In addition, your government in 2009 renovated seven government bungalows at a cost of 56billion old cedis whilst GHC1.6million was used on Christmas hampers. Just last month, Joe Gidisu, the Minister for Roads and Highways purchased a car worth $166,000. Where did all these monies come from, Mr. President?

In fact, our president’s reactions and responses to many scandals, questions, emergencies and other pertinent national issues seriously lack logic and are very provocative. They are simply parochial and sentimental and the earlier he was stripped of his professorship, the better for the academia in particular and Ghanaians as a whole. John Atta Mills has given credence to the fact that knowledge without know-how is sterile – a fact which the late Akwasi Ampofo Adjei (a.k.a. Mr. A.A.A.) divulged in one of his albums; “adwene nko, na nyansa nko”, to wit, there is a clear difference between academic knowledge and natural wisdom.

Without much ado, I would take readers to June 2009, when Alhaji Muntaka, then Minister of Youth and Sports misappropriated over $20,000 of state funds. Many Ghanaians expected President Mills to fire and prosecute Muntaka, but surprisingly, this was his response on 7th January, 2010; “Muntaka’s case is not corruption but it was an indiscretion on his part. He is too handsome. Besides, he is not the only minister to have travelled with his girl friend”.

Again, addressing Muslims at the Kumasi Central Mosque in early November 2009, President Mills retorted; “Ghanaians complain too much. Why couldn’t they find their voice to amplify their sufferings during the 8-year rule of the NPP”? This was our president’s answer to an appeal to reduce fuel prices drastically in 2009. And one wonders if this was the same man who led the CJA to constantly battle the Kufuor administration. On his inability to honour his promise of giving 40% ministerial appointments to women in view of the high calibre of women in Ghana, he had this to say; “Ghanaian women are not interested in politics”.

Nor is this all, for, in August 2010 when his party chairman – Kwabena Adjei had threatened the Chief Justice with his infamous declaration of killing the cat – a statement which the civil society condemned on no uncertain terms; John Mills in a media encounter in January 2011 said; “Gentleman, stand where you are and look at my face; do I look like a cat-hunter”?

On the other hand, when questioned about the appointment of inexperienced and incompetent people (Team B) into his cabinet, John Mills said; “I am proud to be the captain of ‘Team B’. I have confidence in them”. When these Team B appointees began to use politics of insults as a conduit to run away from their incompetency, a situation which called for Mills to crack, this was Mills’ advice to Ghanaians; “My brothers and sisters, politics of insults do not put food on our tables. Let’s all stop it”.

One unfortunate statement ever made by any president in the world is the one that came from Atta Mills on the carnage on our roads. Within the last three years, over 1,400 lives have been lost through motor accidents, yet there has not been any major policy to bring these accidents under control. When questioned about the measures put in place to solve the problem, President had this to say; “Let’s pray to God. I wish I could turn the Castle into a prayer camp”.

One his alleged misappropriation of GHS 90million for his presidential primaries by Hebert Mensah in July 2011, President Mills responded; “Hehehehee, hahahaa, me ara mewo sika d3m a, anka medeb3y3 Accra-Ofankor kwan. Menam so mpo a, na masiw metiriw ase”; to wit, if I had such money, I would complete the Accra-Ofankor road. I bow down my head in shame anytime I pass on that portion of the road.

On the upsurge of homosexuality and the position of his government, John Atta Mills in a thanksgiving service in Sunyani in July 2011 said; “The word of God is clear. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong”. How could such a statement solve homosexuality in Ghana? So why would I doubt FONKAR’s allegation that Mills is among the men practising homosexuality in the Castle?

Regrettably, whilst other nations are investing heavily in education through co-ordinated programmes and policies, Mills-Mahama administration prides itself with the distribution of drinking cups and school uniforms. And he had the guts to stand shamefully in front of world leaders and talk about elimination of schools under trees when Ghana - a country that has produced a former UN General Secretary, is among the oil producing countries. This is the man who promised to care for us, rid the country of corruption, make discipline the hallmark of his administration, promote rule of law and solve all national problems. John Mills has barely in year to the end of his term but still fancies to blame his predecessor for his own ineptitude. For me, there is no way the nation can move forward under Mills if even Jesus Christ becomes his chief advisor because he is as clueless as a dead mouse when it comes to economic management.

It is really sad and I find it difficult to comprehend how John Atta Mills managed to achieve his academic laurels. He has forgotten that the Almighty God intentionally provided mankind with no modern clothing and shelter when He created the world. God did so because He expected mankind to develop his own intellectual property to the fullest, and for his own benefit. God wanted us to think and think well (be creative). It is against this backdrop that Ghanaians expect their leaders to have the vision and create wealth. As His Excellency, J.A. Kufuor recently remarked; “The world has no time for visionless leaders”. Ghana needs a leader who can manage the little resources at our disposal for the benefit of all. Notwithstanding the challenges we have as a country, we should be mindful of the fact that no problem in the world can stand the assault of sustained thinking and action. Therefore, if John Fiifi Mills cannot fix the economy under his ‘Better Ghana’ deception, he should leave it for the one who can demonstrate real leadership. On this note, I entreat all to join me in the crusade to get Atta Mills stripped off his academic titles for they are of no benefit to the ordinary Ghanaian. God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK. You can visit the author’s blog on (www.katakyie.com) katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk 07944309859 “Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”