Opinions Sun, 11 Jul 2010

An open letter to President J.E.A Mills of Ghana

Dear President Mills,

I write to you as one of your worried compatriots. This is not my first letter to you. I have sent several others to you in the past, but it seems your messengers both in the media and at the castle refuse to let you know what I have been trying to tell you. You may have to do something about your messengers if you don’t want to miss out on many of your letters.

I wrote to congratulate you when you were first declared President. I can only hope your boys didn’t keep that congratulatory letter away from you. I have been prompted to write to you again because you seem to have changed from the Prof. Mills that we voted for to become president. By the way, I was not one of your ardent supporters before you became the NDC flag bearer. That didn’t make much difference though since I was not a delegate and therefore had no vote. I never believed that you would make a great President. I only supported you because J.J. Rawlings, the former president and NDC founder chose you to succeed him. Now I wish J.J didn’t choose you in the first place.

Why, Mr. President, have you chosen to bring division to the NDC instead of uniting it. I know your avowed supporters will not even listen to what I’m pointing out to you because they’re blinded by their sycophancy which has become very much a part of your government. Mr. President you will agree with me that at the founding of the NDC in 1992, you were nowhere near the umbrella. You were a teacher in the university where your price for the hard work awaited you in heaven. When President Rawlings chose you to succeed him, many wondered what came over him. His best friends deserted him for that decision. Very notable was Guzi Tano and the reform group that broke away in protest to the decision to bring you to bear the NDC flag in the year 2000.

After your failed attempt at becoming President in the year 2000, you still enjoyed goodwill from many party faithful and most especially the party founder JJ Rawlings. He openly campaigned for you against Dr. Kwesi Botchwey. The result was the decision to allow you run for the 2004 general election in which you succumbed to the machinations of the NPP rigging machinery—an act that earned you an accolade ‘the asumgwe hene’ (king of peace). Former party chairman, Dr. Obed Asamoah also left the NDC to found the DFP, and a major part of the reason he left was in protest of having you as the flag bearer of the party in the next general elections. Why because you had the full support of JJ Rawlings, the founder of the party. These are people who had to throw away everything after working so hard in helping shape the NDC. This protest was against your choice as the party leader and flag bearer. Many of them believed, and still believe that you are incompetent. But President Rawlings remained resolute behind you until you became president.

Do you remember in 2008 when we campaigned for you to be President? Do you remember that the NPP turned all their ammunition on President Rawlings because he campaigned for you? And do you remember when some of your boys were scheming to have the former President Rawlings out of your campaign because they naively believed that he was going to take the centre stage of your campaign? Yet still, the man stood his grounds to ensure you become President. I even hear President Rawlings was in TEIN constituency to campaign in the final round few hours after the announcement by the EC when you were still in Accra taking a rest. Alas! We were all relieved when you won the presidency.

Unfortunately Mr. President, our relief has been short-lived.

First thing you did was to throw away your title ‘asomgwe hene’. You choose to assemble a governing team of sycophants and boot-lickers instead of a competent team of experts to run this country. You excluded infamously from your government internal opponents prior to your election as flag bearer. You showed vindictiveness instead of forgiveness. You preferred feign loyalty and sycophancy to competence, principles and courage from your team. And when people began to speak out their minds about the situation, you showed gross intolerance. Your boys decided to attack all such persons including the NDC founder, and indeed, your god-father as enemies of your government. You sat by and gleefully enjoyed those attacks. Indeed, I need to be convinced that you didn’t order them to do so.

I remember when you made that famous statement that you will consult President Rawlings day and night when you become president. Your political opponents thought it was politically suicidal. Even some of your own boys thought likewise. They ceased the opportunity to remind you on the campaign platform. But I knew you meant your words. I’m not so sure now if you are a man of your word, for a man is only as good as what he stands for. You have been President for less than two years but many people in the NDC believe that you’re selling out the party’s principles. Others also believe that you never imbibed the true principles and ideals of the NDC in the first place.

Mr. President, one of the things I really wanted to ask you in this letter is whether you’re in control of the situation in your party and government? You seem to be hibernating at a time when you’re most needed awake. You seem to be distancing yourself farer away from your roots. First you have made Kwame Nkrumah your god-father instead of J.J. Rawlings. You have never missed the opportunity to extol the virtues of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. You have spent huge amounts of money in talk shops and symposia to sing the praises of this man. You have named ships and bridges in his honor. You have made activists of the CPP your allies. Even avowed critics of the NDC founder and your god-father Jerry Rawlings are now wining and dining with you. That aspect of you has amazed me greatly.

Just recently you had a huge opportunity to prove your critics wrong. You choose to confirm your deeply rooted disdain and disloyalty to the very fountain of your political present. You not only encouraged your boys to discredit the June4 anniversary celebration this year, you were also conspicuously missing in action. Your information minister speaking on your behalf even suggested that the anniversary celebrations are ‘divisive’ to the nation and you being so ‘reasonable and ‘discerning’ will not engage in such an activity. Were those really your words? And do you truly believe in that?

Mr. President, forgive me for my temerity but I don’t see anybody In the NDC who hold such views as a true NDC man. Why, does the ‘NEW NDC ‘have a different ancestor other than the AFRC/PNDC/NDC? Are the ideals forming the bedrock of the party and guiding the government different from those of probity and accountability, fairness and transparency, integrity and social justice? Do you believe in these ideals Mr. President? If yes, why did you and your boys refuse the golden opportunity to be reminded of the very ideals that you profess as a government? Does the NDC constitution not recognize the day as cardinal in our calendar to be observed, marked or celebrated yearly to serve as a reminder to leadership of the need to avoid corruption in public office, to ensure transparency and probity in office? What is divisive about this? Does a remembrance of the June4 lesson not make us avoid today, the actions that led to June4 1979 uprising?

Ironically, whiles in opposition, major actors in party leadership and in government today, played an active role in yearly events that sought to observe or celebrate the day. For example, in 2008 when the Youth For Leadership (YFL) organized the June4 event in Kumasi, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, deputy local government minister and then deputy general secretary as well as Fiifi Kwetey, deputy finance minister and then propaganda secretary of the NDC were present to affirm their conviction. However, in power today when there is the opportunity to apply those timeless values of June4, these same people seem to have abandoned the opportunity to be reminded of the need to avoid corruption, to have integrity and transparency in government, and to seek social justice.

As the leader of the NDC you have not demonstrated true leadership in this respect. And don’t tell me that June4 has been removed from our national constitution, and that is why as a president who believe in the rule of law, you avoided June4. That will be very evasive and a rationalization of your disloyalty to your professed ideals as the leader of the NDC. You didn’t have to use state funds. Those of us who were in Tamale to remind ourselves of the lessons of June4 did not use state funds. We made personal sacrifices and you and your boys could’ve done same if indeed, you were not running away from the reminder of these ideals in government. Sometimes I’m tempted to believe that the opposition NPP dictate to you and your boys what to do on a daily bases.

Not only did you miss this golden opportunity to ground yourself in the foundational ideals of the NDC, you have also by your action given impetus to your boys to show open disdain for these ideals through their open disrespect and ill-manners towards your god-father and founder of the NDC who also is the former President, and who chose you in the SWEDRU towa DECLARATION to succeed him. You have sat by unconcern for the hatchet men in your government such as Akudjeto Ablakwa, Omane Boama, Harruna Iddrisu, Nii Lante Vandapuye and many others to show insolence to the NDC founder through their utterances in the mass media. Some of them have naively suggested that President Rawlings is not the founder of the NDC against the very word and spirit of the NDC constitution. That is how far they’ve managed to go in their disrespect towards the party founder. Their questioning of the founder’s status is an attempt undoubtedly to tamper with the foundation of the party. As the leader of this party, I expect you to act as such by setting the records straight. But as it is now, it would seem to me that by your silence, you endorse such irresponsible behavior from your hatchet boys whose excitement on the airwaves has partly prompted me to write this letter to you. The truth is, these uncouth boys of yours are provoking some of us who have restrained ourselves from reacting for a long time in the interest of unity and party cohesion. They’re not the best in their trade in this party. There are many of us who can do worse if we choose the path of temerity as they’ve chosen. We consider these engagements of your boys to be a self defeatists endeavor, naïve and lacking principle. I have therefore chosen to write to you Mr. president to call them to book to avoid the undesirable consequences of reactions from those of us who hold on to the original ideals of this movement, and who would cease the courage to speak and stand by the truth no matter the cost.

I have heard people say that you are not personally responsible for all of these things. I have heard that there are some hidden hands bundled up in a family called the Ahwois. And that they run your government, but with you as a ceremonial head. But I vehemently refuse to take the blame away from you. You’re supposed to be in control of your affairs. You’re supposed to be your own man, and that is why you have chosen to ignore invaluable advice even from your political god-father J.J.Rawlings. Why then do you allow people who have never run for public office, not even as assembly man, call the shots for you? If Ghanaians didn’t vote for President Rawlings, did they vote for the Ahwois? Or is it the case of an inferiority complex that has engulfed you and made you forget your political fountain?

The Kandiga people say that ‘fu sam tibe bara yore, ayin diki yibe la hu poga’. Meaning that if you heal the sick penis of a man, he will test drive it on the healer’s wife. That is exactly what many Ghanaians within and outside of the NDC believes you’re doing to the former president Rawlings. I will caution you Mr. President that you make sure you don’t get a relapse else the healer may not be prepared to come to your aid since you’re most likely to test drive again on his wife.

As a wise president, I think I have spoken too many words to you. If you take the right decisions, take back control of your government, give your political god-father and founder of your party the deserved honor, call your ill-mannered boys to order, then my next words to you would be that of commendation. However, If you choose to delegate your duties to the Ahwois, continually allow your boys to malign and question the status of the NDC founder, and show naked disloyalty to the core values and principles that form the bedrock the party, you can be sure I will not only tell you the truth in your face, I will also join a campaign to replace you with a true NDC person as leader of the party.

Courageously yours,

SaCut Amenga-Etego

(General Secretary)

Youth for Leadership for Ghana
Columnist: Amenga-Etego, SaCut