General News of 2014-07-30

Atta Mills was a modest leader - Dr. Chambas

The relatively short presidency of the late President John Evans Atta Mills has been described as an opportunity for the world to have a unique insight into his sterling qualities as a modest and exemplary leader and a statesman.

The above is part of the enviable attributes that His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas paid to the late Professor Mills at the second Annual John Evans Atta Mills memorial lecture.

Below are appropriate excerpts from Dr. Chambas’s 20-page lecture of why the late President Mills was the toast of democracy and revered on the African continent and the world at large.

“Even though, short, Atta Mills’s presidency provided the world with a unique insight into the sterling qualities of a modest and exemplary leader and statesman. At home, President Atta Mills preached and acted peace, laid a clear vision for Ghana’s political and economic trajectory, and galvanized the population to scale the commanding heights of prosperity and dignity. In Africa, he advocated for Nkrumah’s vision of a united, competitive, people-oriented and self-confident continent capable of holding its own in the modern setting of a global market characterized by trading blocs and regional security frameworks. Internationally, he attracted deserved admiration from nations great and small, and made the world take a different view of a resurgent and renascent Africa.

President Atta Mills was a refreshing sight at ECOWAS and AU Summits, and his peers listened to his simple but incisive interventions with attention. He spared no time selling the Ghana governance model as a viable path to democracy, development and regional integration. Behind the scenes, he brokered peace in conflict zones and maintained Ghana’s proud record of peacekeeping abroad. With rumors of Ivorian claims to part of Ghana’s oil-rich maritime zone, Atta Mills, true to his predisposition to peace and good neighborliness, he was instrumental in setting up a committee of both nations to seek a peaceful solution to any maritime border disputes.

His mantra was, “Dze wo fie asem” which literally is “get your home in order”, in other words charity begins at home. Prof Mills recognized the linkage between peace, security and development. He was very much disappointed about the extent to which conflicts had prevented much developments that would have made life better for people. Prof therefore had a particular focus on ensuring peace and unity as the foundation for the pursuit of sustainable economic growth, building domestic infrastructure, attracting investments and achieving inclusive development that impacted on the lives of ordinary people.

“Dze wo fie asem” also meant leadership by example. The BBC described his presidency as that of “a peacemaker who was never one to make disparaging comments in public”. Despite intense criticisms and vilification from his political supporters and opponents alike, John Atta Mills was forever a man of decorum who never deployed the sharp tongue against critics. Indeed, his political supporters often referred to him as Asomdweehene, meaning ‘King of Peace’ in Akan language.

Prof was a leader who abhorred trivialities and used his peculiar strength of character to rally people for great national/continental causes. Undergirding the capacities to contextualise, envision, mentor and mobilize followers to transform reality are the attributes of character, courage, selflessness and public-spiritedness. These attributes are conditioned in turn by the adherence to virtue, ethics, honesty, humility,self-sacrifice, respect, kindness, empathy, faith and or spirituality. All these positive attributes were manifest in Prof.

The late African-American literary icon, Maya Angelou, who passed some of her most formative years here in Accra noted, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you have made them feel”.

Ghana’s reputation in West Africa, on the continent and beyond, as a country of tolerance, peace and best practices in democracy, good governance and economic development reached its zenith under President Atta Mills’s rule.

Source: The Informer
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