By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
I have absolutely no intention of reading Dr. Omane Boamah’s so-called letter to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, although I promptly confess to having read the riposte fired off by a member of the Ghana Medical Association with utmost glee and cathartic relish (See “GMA Regrets Politicization of Inquest Call into Mills’ Death” Ghanaweb.com/JoyOnline.com 8/18/12).
What is regrettable is the rather facile attempt by the National Executive Council of the Ghana Medical Association (NEC of GMA) to pretend that, indeed, the Ghanaian people’s right to be apprised of the circumstances surrounding the “mysterious” death of President John Evans Atta-Mills is, somehow, the especial prerogative of the executive branch of the Government and, curiously, that of Transitional-President John Dramani Mahama.
It is also rather wistful for avid students of the Ghanaian political scene, like this writer, to painfully observe that in a practical sense, the late President Mills, in tragic Shakespearean parlance, was hoisted by his own petard. For, a close examination of his attitude towards the Kufuor-minted National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), clearly indicates that, at best, President Mills was nonchalant. We must also bear in mind the fact that as Vice-President to the former Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, Prof. Mills was an active participant of the infamous Cash-and-Carry Darwinian health policy that deliberately and blatantly ignored the basic health needs of poor and underclass Ghanaian citizens. And since the return to power of the so-called National Democratic Congress in 2008, there has not been any significant improvement in both the NHIS and the general delivery of health services in the country at large. And on the latter score ought to be promptly recalled the fact that Dr. Omane Boamah, as Deputy Health Minister, was also an active participant in this moral and functional travesty.
It is also tragically ironic to recall the fact that the man, who either callously or ineptly supervised the virtual collapse of our national healthcare system, was also the most hospital-frequenting leader in postcolonial Ghanaian history. Recently, for example, Mr. Sekou Nkrumah, son of Ghana’s first president, has gone on record as saying that President Mills was “not a great leader.” I would unreservedly venture even further by observing that the three-time National Democratic Congress’ presidential candidate was “not even a good leader.” The abject vindictiveness of the man – particularly in the matter of persistent and consistent detractors like Mr. Spio-Garbrah – has been amply and eloquently documented elsewhere by at least one other writer that I am aware of.
Indeed, the expressed regret by the National Executive Council of the Ghana Medical Association for seeming to have publicly politicized the constitutional right of Ghanaian citizens to be apprised of the circumstances surrounding the death of President John Evans Atta-Mills, goes far beyond instructing relevant authorities on how to more efficiently handle or forestall any such contingency in the foreseeable future.
Needless to say, there well may be a forensically provable act – or acts – of criminality involved. And it is, in fact, this latter aspect of the entire episode that makes such an inquest, as is being demanded by the Ghana Medical Association, even more imperative. What is flagrant and politically unsavory about the entire episode, is the apparently cynical attempt by the Mahama-Arthur government to pretend as if the couple’s desperate bid to retaining democratic reins of governance, in the lead-up to Election 2012, is, somehow, far more significant than merely determining the circumstances leading to the death of a president who has already been lavishly mourned and buried, perhaps in an obliquely salvific easing of the bad conscience of those paid with taxpayer money to guarantee the safety and comfort of a perennially ailing President John Evans Atta-Mills.
On the latter count, though, the primal insufferable liar is former President Jeremiah John (Avaklasu) Rawlings, the man who unconscionably, and selfishly, imposed this clinically proven terminally ailing man on the Ghanaian people and, in effect, deliberately stalling our national development by at least a half-decade.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. ###