Five years on, unanswered questions overshadow President Mills’ life

John Evans Atta Mills2 Late President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 Source: Isaac Kyei Andoh

On the 12 of March 1998 when I returned from School, colleagues of my father who was a security man at Parliament returned his watch, shoe and job outfit. We were told that he took ill at work and was admitted to the Tema General Hospital. 6 days later, 18th March precisely, he died few hours after regaining his consciousness. He died from Stroke and this is known to and by every member of the family old enough to know.

I was just a little over 13 at the time but I know with detailed accuracy what killed my father.

From George Washington to Ronald Regan, the cause of death of every single late US president is just a Google away from anyone who wants to know

Come to Ghana and every single anniversary of President Mills’ death is dominated by the demand for details about what caused it by either the political opponent of the NDC, curious Ghanaians or some family members of our noble late president.

Five years since that dark Tuesday, his death remains an issue of public debate and I for one find this worrying and abnormal in a democracy.

His son, Samuel Atta Mills, who was over 25 years at the time of his father's death, says he remains in the dark as to what killed his father. The head of their family also indicated that they want to know what killed Prof Mills and demanded a copy of the autopsy report.

Five years on, instead of the exemplary life of Prof Mills dominating the news and the lessons in these examples re-echoed into the ears of Ghanaians, we are still at what killed him and look set to repeat it come next year if God stays in Heaven

If for nothing at all, his family should be in the known as to what killed him. If anyone will ask questions about what killed him, it should never be the family because it is criminal to hold back such delicate information from them.

Regardless of the height a man scales in this life, he is first and foremost a family man. His family takes precedence over every association even if he was the president. This is why his burial was done in collaboration with the family and same with his anniversary.

Cadman Mills and Samuel Atta Mills, Member of Parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem constituency, the only family members who appear to be in the known as to what killed the former president have kept the details to their chest. Even before an autopsy, Cadman Mills told Ghana that the ex-president died of mild stroke.

We can’t lose sight of the fact that Cadman Mills and Samuel Atta Mills are the only known family members of our late president who hold strong ties with NDC. In my estimation, they sound more like politicians than family when they speak about the issue.

Personally, I think former President Mahama erred in judgement by not letting out the cause of death to silence his critics and conspiracy theorists who linked him and subtly accused him of having a hand in the man’s demise. I say this with difficulty but this is the truth. On several occasions, on campaign platform or radio, people largely from NPP directly accused the then president.

This is why I think former President Mahama shouldn’t have hesitated to bring out the details of the cause of death, silence the opposition, satisfy the family and help us move on as a nation.

As someone who was fortunately or unfortunately the major beneficiary of President Mills’ death, he should have made it a priority to silence people who would want to capitalise on it for their parochial or national interest and link him even in the most subtle way to the death.

The image of our late professor will not be dented in any way if what caused his death is made known to the nation. It will not undermine the security of the nation in any form.

If for nothing at all, his family should be in no doubt and should be the last people to be in the dark as to what killed their father, brother and son.

Keeping it a secret gives the conspiracy theorists firmer grounds and gradually legitimises or gives their claims credibility in the minds of people. This is why we need to bring the issue to bed by informing the nation and provide the family with a copy of the report as soon as possible.

This is what the NPP should be doing now that they are in power instead of keeping on with the never ending accusation and repeated unanswered questions. Getting a detailed autopsy report on the cause of our late president’s death should never take more than two weeks with the political will

His Fifth Anniversary Celebration

President Mills was the president of Ghana and the very first to have died in the line of duty, his anniversary should be a national event (not a holiday) and therefore the fact that Koku Anyidoho and the NDC organised it, sent an open invitation to Naadu Mills and government makes the neglect of both parties reasonable to me. The anniversary should be national and not an NDC thing for Koku Anyidoho to invite Mrs Mills like you’d a distance friend.

However, government should have done something in their own small way to recognise this day due to who President Mills was to Ghana in general. Treating the day as a passing wind is shameful and 'unnationalistic' in my opinion.

The fact that his family had to pay Seven Thousand Ghana Cedis for a space in the Daily Graphic to announce the day is extremely troubling and clearly, indicates how Mills' death has lost its nationalistic status due to change in government.

Do unto others just as you’d want them to do unto you is my message to this government and future ones.

That said, we need to bring to closure the speculations and questions about the death of President Mills.

If for nothing at all, the family should have access to a copy of the autopsy report. Samuel Atta Mills is over 30 years; he is old enough to deserve the respect of being told the cause of his dad’s death.

The NDC should change their posture on the matter and stop acting like the request for details is an attack on the party.

Until the Ghanaian is in the know, until his families members are given adequate information about his death, these questions will linger on and overshadow the quality of life lived by the Asomdwe Hene as he was affectionately referred to by even his worse critics.

Columnist: Isaac Kyei Andoh