Mills’ Legacy of Mediocrity, Second to Rawlings

Sat, 28 Nov 2009 Source: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

The world, according to Shakespeare, is like a stage where actors come, play their part and leave the scene for others to continue. Fortunately or unfortunately, Ghanaians have had the opportunity to be governed by both civilian and military leaders since the country gained independence in 1957 from Britain. The role played by our late presidents - Kwame Nkrumah, K. A. Busia, Hilla Limann and the immediate past President J. A. Kufuor cannot be overemphasised. Mention should also be made of other military rulers such as Gen. Kotoka, Okatakyie A.A. Afrifa, Gen. I. K. Acheampong, Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo and Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings.

Having ruled Ghanaians undemocratically from 1981 to 1992, internal and international pressure compelled J.J. Rawlings to return the country to multi-party democracy. This, the dictator took advantage and metamorphosed into civilian leader under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and held unto power for another 8 years, thus making him the longest serving head of state in Ghana.

God being so good, the 2000 general elections brought in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under the distinguished leadership of J.A. Kufuor. Having performed creditably to the admiration of all and sundry between 2001 and 2009, his noble party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regrettably handed over power cheaply to the National Disappointed Congress (NDC) in the 2008 general elections.

However, the performance of Mills-led P/NDC administration since January 2009 leaves much to be desired. To say that Prof. Mills is clueless, as far as the management of the Ghanaian economy is concerned, will be a very gross understatement. So far the former Vice President, a tax collector and a university lecturer has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he completely lacks what it takes to solve the myriad of problems that continuously affect the lives of many Ghanaians. I am confidently saying this because of what I have seen, heard, felt, smelled and judged since January 7, 2009.

Ghanaians would agree with me that the then presidential candidate, Mr. John Mills promised among other things, to reduce the price of fuel drastically, heal wounds, unite the nation and make sure there is no NPP or NDC Ghana, bring peace to Bawku within 100 days, be a father to all Ghanaians, make armed robbery a thing of the past, not to pursue politics of vendetta, give 40% of ministerial appointments to women, bridge poverty gap between the north and south, strengthen the pro-poor policies and interventions-School Feeding Programme (SFP), National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), free maternal care which were implemented by his predecessor, make Ghanaians pay one time premium for National Health Insurance, make Nkrumah’s birthday a public holiday, turn the Golden Jubilee House into a poultry farm, abrogate the Ghana Telecom sale to Vodafone, probe the Ghana @ 50 celebrations but not that of Ghana @ 40, probe Ya Na’s death, reverse the Senior High School duration from 4 to 3 years, cut down waste and profligate spending, prosecute his own ministers and any Ghanaian without asking for any evidence, generate funds internally instead of relying on Breton Wood Institutions (IMF, World Bank), invest in people and indeed put money in our pockets, provide free uniforms to all public basic schools, modernise agriculture, build airports in Cape Coast and Tamale, improve infrastructure and on a more serious note, use his 100 days in office to clear all cities of filth.

In his campaign tour in the Western Region prior to the 2008 general elections, Agya Atta remarked, ‘I swear, try me and see and I will never disappoint you, I care for you’. He used the tribal card not only in the Volta Region, but also in his home region where he accused President Kufuor of situating major cold stores in Kumasi because he did not care for the fisher folks. Above all, Professor Mills told Ghanaians that he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The then presidential candidate summarised his vein promises by saying that he was a ‘Better man for a Better Ghana’ but warned that should he fail to win power this time, ‘Ghana would burn like Kenya’.

According to Abraham Lincoln, if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. Sir Winston Churchill also adds that, those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. Ghanaians in their quest for change, coupled with, the use of propaganda, tribal card and intimidation by the NDC, short sightedness on the part of some Ghanaians, apathy on the part of NPP foot soldiers and sympathisers and more importantly support from the CPP during the run-off, gave Prof. Mills the opportunity to serve Mother Ghana as the President, though unwillingly, with the hope that their lives would be improved.

It is nearly 12 months into his maladministration and what do we see as a people? As written in Galatians 5 ; 19-21, the Gospel according to the manifesto of the National Disappointed Congress and which was prophesised by T.B. Joshuah vis-a-vis the poor performance of John Mills brings to the fore the misdeeds of this diabolic group called the NDC. Indeed, Prof. Mills’ lackadaisical performance is manifested in all the key sectors of the economy and it is clear and unambiguous for all those who really think about Mother Ghana to see and feel. These include, among others, the 45% increase in fuel prices, the high unemployment rate, the seizure of vehicles including those of President Kufuor and Nana Akufo-Addo, the seizure of passports, public toilets and car parks, the harassment of political opponents, the victimization of public office holders perceived to be NPP sympathizers by sacking them from their employment such as co-ordinators of NHIS and NYEP, the breakdown of rule of law, the frequent shortage of fuel including pre-mix fuel, the appointment of few women (only 11%) for ministerial portfolios, the near collapse of the NHIS, the heightened conflicts in Bawku, Agogbloshie, Gushiegu, Yendi and Tamale, over 26 unnecessary foreign trips made between the president and his vice, the unlawful termination of appointments of former Chief of Defence Staff and the former IGP, the jolly ride by 40 NDC gurus to La Cote D’Ivoire costing the tax payer $12,000, the planned purchase of four aircrafts, the purchase of baby diapers by Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak-a former cabinet minister, the M & J bribery scandal leading to the resignation of two ministers, the Alhaji Mumuni financial scandal at NVTI, the stolen of tractors by Ayariga, S.K. Bagbin and other greedy NDC members, who have been condemning property owning democracy, the indecision of the President on some important national issues, especially his dithering to reward the national U-20 football team-the Black Satellites, the increase in the rate of inflation from 18% in January ’09 to 24% in November, ’09, the high interest rate making it difficult for Ghanaians to access soft loans, the free fall of the currency, general insecurity in the country as a result of frequent gun shots, the Volta lake disaster, high levels of poverty and economic hardship in the country, the frequent power outages, the astronomical increase in school fees in the senior high schools as well as the academic facility user fees in the universities, the near collapse of the school feeding programme, the ban on graduate employment to public sector institutions, the termination of appointments of 400 army recruits, the razing down of public and private buildings including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kumasi Central and Agogbloshie Markets, the attack of media personnel and Radio stations in Tachiman and Accra, the appointments of ex-convicts like Dan Abodakpi, George Sipa-Yankey, Kwame Peprah into sensitive positions, the human rights abuses, the drinking of ‘tea mpampa’ by the transition team costing the tax payer over 1.3m Ghana cedis, the illegal distribution of government cars to NDC serial callers (courtesy Dr. Asemfoforo), the granting of $50,000 loan to 230 MPs, the increase in the budgetary allocation at the presidency and the near collapse of Tema Oil Refinery.

According to Harry Truman (33rd US Prez), men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous and skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. It is against this backdrop that both the former military dictator, Flt. Lt. Rawlings and Mr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah had the gut to describe Mills’ ministers as illiterates, team B more seriously mediocre, apparently to show their frustrations to the tortoise-paced Mills’ administration. This is not a case of a pot calling a kettle black. It is a fact which is known to every right-minded Ghanaian. Ladies and gentlemen, are you aware that currently over 40 people from the Volta Region have been given ministerial and other sensitive portfolios at the expense of other regions? Is this not a clear case of tribalism being covertly and overtly institutionalised in our society? During Prof. Mills’ so-called ‘thank you’ tour in the Volta Region, he remarked; ‘this is my second home’. It is therefore not surprising that he made the following appointments from the region, National Security Co-ordinator-Gbevlo Lartey, Head of State Protocol-Victor Gbeho, Roads and Highways-Joe Gidisu, NADMO-Kofi Portuphy, Chairman of Council State-Kofi Awonor, Head of Communications- Koku Anyidoho, Women and Children’s Affairs-Akua Sena Densua, Head of Appointments Committee cum 1st Dep. Speaker of Parliament-Doe Ajaho, Presidential Staffer-Victor Smith, DVLA-Justice Amegashie, Tourism-Juliana Azumah Nelson, Chief of Army Staff- Major Gen. Joseph Adinkra, Employment and Social Welfare-Stephen Kwao Amanor, Volta Region-Joe Amenowode, Chairman of National Media Commission, Dep. Finance-Fiifi Kweetey & Seth Tekper, Dep. Foreign Affairs-Chris Kpodo, Dep. Chief of Staff-Alex Segbefia, Dep. Trade and Industry-John Gyetuah, Dep. Information-Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, School Feeding Programme-Sallas Mensah, Dep. Works and Housing-Hannah Bisiw, Dep. Transport-Peace Dzifa Aku Attivor, Togbe Afedi-Board Member, Bank of Ghana, Dep. NHIA-Eric Ametor-Quarmyne etc. Volta Region is your second home indeed. The president has also appointed his brother as the head of his economic management team, a practice he frequently accused his predecessor of. Therefore as to why J.J. Rawlings declared that the president is surrounded by ‘greedy bastards’ is still a mystery for all to unravel.

In fact, when President Mills said he was going to hit the ground running during his inaugural speech, those who mistakenly voted for the NDC thought the era would mark the end of their ‘hopelessness’, ‘voiceless’, ‘poverty’, ‘unemployment’, among other barriers to their empowerment only for him to break his weak legs as he started crawling like a snail with no sense of direction. According to Steven Grayhm; excuses are tools of incompetence used by persons with no purpose in view to build monuments of nothing. For those who specialise in them shall never be good at anything. For my money, Prof. Mills has so far proven Grayhm right. Since his administration was voted into office in January 2009, not a day passes without hearing the President blaming the previous administration for his own failures. ‘NPP na 3y33 y3, NPP na 3s3e no’. Instead of majoring on the major things that are so dear to the lives of Ghanaians, Mills is pre-occupied with majoring on the minor things which are red herring.

Fellow compatriots, what pisses me off about Mills’ utterances is his plea to Ghanaians to give him time. What is time in politics, if I may ask? Time, according to the Jawaharlal Nehru, is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, feels and what one achieves. How many years does Prez Mills need to; stop his NDC supporters from chasing NYEP co-ordinators out of their offices, prosecute Muntaka, Sipa-Yankey and other corrupt ministers, stop the BNI and Victor Smith from harassing his political opponents, reduce the fuel prices drastically to 2 Ghana cedis, get rid of the Ewe dominated cabinet and ensure equal tribal representation, give 40% ministerial portfolio to women, stop the police from stripping people naked and bring peace to Bawku as an ‘Asomdwe3 hene’, rid our cities of filth, pay 7 month salary arrears of TEWU workers so that our Universities are not closed down for another year as happened under the first NDC regime, pay 10 month salary arrears of castle workers, pay President-J.A. Kufuor’s entitlements, fill our pockets with the money he promised, increase the responsibility and car maintenance allowances of NAGRAT of Gp30 and 7 Ghana cedis respectively when these graduate teachers were receiving 1 and 40 Ghana cedis respectively under Kufuor regime? Is that a ‘Better Ghana’ or a ‘Bitter Ghana’. ‘Mpanin se s3 woanya biribi ama w’ase a, y3mmo no korono’.

My dear readers, it must be understood that Prof. Mills is not a novice in Ghanaian politics. He has been a Vice President and knows the political terrain. A politician should also have the ability to know what will happen tomorrow and thus be proactive enough to solve problems before hand. Does Prof. Mills want to portray that he was not aware of the task ahead? Is he not the same Professor who used to give his state of the nation addresses on yearly basis after His Excellency, J.A. Kufuor had delivered powerful ones to the nation? He should stop the unnecessary noise he is making about no money in the national coffers. Which government/Prez inherited billions of dollars in the national coffers apart from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who inherited cosmic sum of £200m by the British government? President Kufuor’s NPP inherited a ‘HIPC’ economy which had only a 3-week import cover but Mills took over when the GDP growth rate was 7.3% as against 3.9% in 2000. A wise man, the adage says, turns a chance into good fortune.

So far Mills’ ‘Sakawa Budget’ in March had succeeded in reversing the impressive economic expansion of 7.3% GDP (the highest recorded in 30 years) under the NPP regime to 4.7% leading to a fall in employment levels. Similarly, the ‘Enko yie/ Ereko nyaa Budget’ presented in November ’09 for the 2010 fiscal year has no hope and only seeks to move the country backwards. Instead of investing in youth education, you have chosen to involve the youth in agriculture. Are you involving your only son in the programme, Mr. President? What about the children of J.J, Asiedu Nketia, John Mahama, Kwabena Adjei and your cabinet ministers? What measures have you put in place to address post-harvest losses? Please, don’t waste the time of the youth.

Another point worth condemning is Prof. Mills’ certain pronouncements. According to Prophet Bob Marley; the lips of the righteous teach many but fools die for want of wisdom. Indeed, Prof. Mills’ call for divine intervention/wisdom to rule Ghana and his wish to turn Ghana into a prayer camp were just an insult to all Ghanaians, especially to non-Christians. Was this not funny? How old is the law professor? A man who is nearing his grave is calling for divine wisdom to rule 22m people; from who and where? If at the age of 68, a whole law professor is calling for divine wisdom to rule Ghana then of course we have every right to question his academic prowess. When AFAG - a pressure group, presented a petition to the president to help address the high cost of living in the country, a whole president instead of addressing the group’s concern, directed AFAG to the Ghana @ 50 hearing. How and why? Again, after 100 days in office when armed robbery, inflation, interest rate, human rights abuses, filth etc were on the increase, Prof. Mills shamefully set his own questions, wrote his exams, supervised himself, marked the script and subsequently awarded 80% mark to himself. What a joke? Besides, when the M & J Bribery scandal hit the headlines and the incompetence of his ministers was manifested in all spheres of public life, the party founder J.J. Rawlings, together with, Spio-Gabrah, Hon. Nii Afotey Agbo launched scathing attacks on his ministers, yet Prof. Mills adamantly threw his weight behind them and declared, ‘I have confidence in my ministers’. Indeed if the president had such confidence in his ministers, why did he call into a radio station to defend his government having appointed a spokesman, a director of communications, an Information Minister with two deputies?

In fact, the most unfortunate statement ever made by any president in the world was the one by Prof. Mills in Kumasi recently. ‘That Ghanaians complain too much’. Ah! Who complained more than Prof. Mills and his CJA before the 2008 general elections? Since January 7, he has been spitting his dummy out about the ‘ecomini’. Mr. President, who made the following baseless remarks; ‘the economy is broke’, ‘we met a bleak economy’, ‘the NPP left nothing in the coffers’, ‘the previous administration left a distressed economy’?. This unfortunate statement in Kumasi by the president reminds me of a friend who complained so much about the inscriptions on vehicles such as ‘Sweet Mother’, ‘Poor No Friend’, ‘Sea never dries’, etc. He vowed never to copy such act should he buy a car in the near future. Fortunately, he secured a good job and bought a new private car. He proceeded to an Art Studio and requested the words ‘Merentwer3 hoo hwee’ (I won’t write anything on my vehicle) to be inscribed on it appararently to show his resentment to such writings. Now the question is: what is the difference between the inscriptions ‘Merentwer3 hoo hwee’ and ‘Sweet Mother’? Are they all not inscriptions on a car? ‘Mpanin se, wontumi wo nnoomma a, wo se wo kahyire akyea’.

Fellow Ghanaians, you all recall another infamous pronouncement by Prof. Mills back in 2000 when he declared on GTV to consult a form five graduate, J.J. Rawlings for 24/7. Not only did this take many Ghanaians by surprise, but also it earned him a noble accolade ‘POODLE’ from the Ghanaian media. Even though the president has refused to take his mentor’s pieces of advice, he has rather fallen on plethora of committees. Not a day passes without hearing the setting up of a new committee. My question is; if every important decision is left in the hands of committees then where lies the usage of his five senses and his academic knowledge? A genuine leader, according to Martin Luther King Jr, is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus. Prof. Mills should admit the fact that, not only is he incompetent, but also lacks vision, the capability, the competent men and women to deliver. How can a president who promised to be a father of all issue a directive to his appointees to address the concerns of only NDC foot soldiers across the length and breadth of the country?

Mr. President, we are aware that our beloved country is not a paradise. Ghana is not even among the G-20. Our education system is not the best. Poverty levels are high. The social infrastructure needs to be improved. Simply put we need a better life. Fortunately, we have all kinds of resources- mineral, including oil, agricultural and human. Your government has also contracted over US$920 million loan since January 2009. You claim to be a professor and have academic knowledge. Knowledge, according to Prof. K.A. Busia is useless unless it is used to serve humanity. What prevents you from turning these resources around to make a positive impact on the lives of the hoi polloi, Mr. President? I think you have bitten more than what you can chew. My piece of advice is that be prepared to bear the consequences of your actions and vein promises. If it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, Confucious advises that do not adjust the goals but adjust the action steps, which are your ‘team B’ ministers. ‘Bolga no de3 wob3ko o, na tanga no ne as3m no’. It is the ‘tanga’ that makes Bolgatanga far from the south. You can use lies and deceit to win the presidency but it is the character and results that will keep you on the throne. Nearly 1 year of your administration is wasted as there is no proof of any formidable economic policy to meet your so-called ‘Better Ghana’ agenda and I doubt how you could find your feet to meet the aspirations of Ghanaians within the next 3 years.

In conclusion, I blame all those who ensured the return of the National Disappointed Congress (NDC) into the political scene, especially those who did not bother to exercise their franchise. To them, Plato says, one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. This is the price we have paid for not retaining the New Patriotic Party (NPP) into power. Under no circumstances, should we let the country teeter to the verge and brink of collapse. It is thus imperative to ensure the return of the NPP in 2012 to continue with the enduring legacy Kufuor left behind. ‘Y3n ara asaase ni’, 3y3 aboodenden ma y3n’.

God bless Ghana! God bless NPP!! God bless Kufuor!!!

By Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, MEd in (Education) Hull, UK


“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success” 07944309859

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku