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Opinions Sat, 25 Feb 2012

Attah Mills A Candidate You Can Trust?

During the 2008 elections I was driving from Accra to Kumasi when I spotted a bill board with the portrait of the then presidential candidate of the NDC, John Evans Attah Mills with the inscription; Atta Mills, A President You Can Trust. I was really impressed by the thinking that went into creating such a poster. It is so enticing that any eligible voter reading it will be tempted to put his thumb on Candidate Mills because trust is a trait that many politicians have proven to lack.

Those who voted for NDC and those who voted for the NPP in 2008 had a place they met and felt comfortable with Ghana's new choice of president. Even NPP extremists had some level of faith in president Mills as they hardly condemned his personality and character even prior to the election. Almost all of us had the conviction that President Mills has a character we have been told of.

Three years down the line, it is sad to say that the same candidate Mills now president has lost most of the accolades he gained prior to his election as president. Many issues has contributed to the eroding of the positive sides of president Mills as brought to us during the previous elections and the 2008 campaign by the NDC.

Trust is the key word I want to deal with in this article and I will be as fair as possible. To trust someone cannot be attained only by listening to the words of the person in question but having a personal experience of the deeds of the person. Words can do their part to some extent but to really trust depends on your own convictions about the person due to your first hand knowledge and discoveries about the person.

President Mills had been given the trust because of the words spoken by him and his promoters. In government he now had to face the task of living up to his own words and those of the people who painted him as an angel. During the 2008 campaign the then candidate Mills pooh poohed any message by the opposition NPP as a lie and constantly asked in Rhetoric; will you trust those liars? To which some of us responded with a big no. He posed as the only candidate could trust at the time. And it was amazing that at the time his spokespersons were maligning Nana Addo and concocting all kings of falsehood against him and his person, some NPP spokes persons still had a space in their hearts to respect the then candidate Mills. Some even described him as a right man in a wrong party.

After gaining the trust of Ghanaians president Mills turned out to be a complete fiasco and starkly different from the picture we saw of him prior to the election. In the run off to the 2008 elections if one topic was important and so influential in the electorates decision for the party to rule for the next 4 years it was about the fuel prices. President Mills at the time took advantage of the situation and boldly promised to reduce fuel prices, not just reducing it but "drastically".

People of Ghana needed this and they also trusted the candidate who brought this message to them and so unsurprisingly Mills emerged the winner at the end of the run off. But just three months into office the trusted candidate went against his own words and increased fuel prices drastically. It was not only the increment that betrayed the trust we gave him, but also his answer to interested journalists that the promise was a campaign one. What it means is that at the time of making the promise he knew he could not fulfill it but still went ahead to lie to Ghanaians.

President Mills as a candidate made Ghanaians to believe that he was a man of peace but contrary to his words his political machinery and propaganda way of ruling has led Ghanaian politics more polarized than ever dreamt of. He sits back and sends his lieutenants to insult and blackmail everybody in his opposition, be it Nana Addo, Nana Konadu or Rawlings whilst he stays back and enjoy the vilifications rained at them. There has been no effort from him to shut his boys down or even warn them. Rather he promotes those who insults most. President Mills has seriously betrayed the trust of many.

I can vividly recall during the IEA debate when president Mills chanted that he will crack his whip if any of his appointees was found culpable of any act of corruption or malfeasance. His pronouncements that even upon a mere news paper report he will subject his appointees to investigation received applause from Ghanaians who as I said had some level of trust in his person. Three years into office, all the people accused of different kinds of corrupt acts, some even changed or dismissed by him from one office to the other are still free men. Instead of cracking whips he rather openly and very shamefully defended some of them. As we speak the prime conspirators of Woyome's crime in the persons of Betty Mould Iddrisu, Dr Kwabena Duffour, Banton Oduro are still comfortable in their posts except Betty who resigned voluntarily. President Mills as a law professor has seen the clear complicity of his friends in this saga but has shamelessly refused to let the law take it's course and is rather in a wild goose chase on opposition members who he knew never ordered such a payment.

For all the various promises he has failed to fulfill(arrest of the Ya Na murderers, Putting money in our pockets, the one time NHIS premium and many more) all the exposures out there in the public, I can't give president Mills my trust in any way, because he has not been a man of his own words. Attah Mills A President You Can Trust can be re-written today as Atta Mills A President You Cannot Trust.

Reagan Adomah Koduah. London, UK.

Columnist: Koduah, Reagan Adomah