Opinions Wed, 8 Aug 2012

Mills' Death and Transparency in Ghana

Dear Great-Uncle,

It is with pleasure that I received your last letter from the land of the ancestors. I was pleased to know that you met President Mills in the country of the ancestors. I was especially happy that you agreed he was a fine gentleman. Those of us still here have indeed been deprived of the company of a truly great soul. Great-Uncle, the death of the president has left us distraught. His death, however, exposed certain traits about our society. In this letter, I would like to note two of those traits. One is especially positive and the other shows that our leaders are still struggling with the concept of democracy.

Great-Uncle, since our president crossed over to join you ancestors, there has been an incredible show of unity in the country. The day he died, his chief of staff informed ex-presidents Kufuor and Rawlings immediately. Nana Addo was shortly briefed on events too. He immediately suspended his campaign and returned to Accra to commiserate with the bereaved family, government and Ghanaians. Politics was suspended in the country as leaders converged to Parliament House for the swearing in of John Mahama. It was a sight to behold, Great-Uncle. For once, the parties were not trying to strangle each other. Since then, people from across the political divide have said very uplifting and positive things about President Mills and there is a feeling of unity in the country. Ghanaians have showed that no matter their political ideologies, they are one people and they love each other deeply. This has been a great positive since the demise of President Mills.

Something ugly has also been revealed about the country however, and it is that the government is still struggling to understand what democracy means. One would think that since the fourth republic started in 1992, this administration would have had the time to brush up on their democratic principles. Great-Uncle, the government is not transparent. President Mahama and the Castle boys like to conduct the affairs of government behind closed doors and in darkness. Would you believe that since the president died, we the people of Ghana, his children, have not been told what killed our father? The Government claims it is a private matter. Great-Uncle, this administration does not seem to know that President Mills was a public figure whose actions affected Ghanaians and so we have the right to know what happened to him. If our president is going to die in the castle, then we the people of Ghana, his employers, need to know what killed him at the castle.

Not only do we have the right to know what killed the president, but publicizing the cause of the president's death will put to rest all the disquieting rumors that are going around. Great-Uncle, some claim the president died in the castle after bleeding from his nose and mouth. Because of this, some have gone on to claim that he was poisoned. Some also say that he died upon reaching the hospital after the doctors at the emergency ward declined to see him because his staffers did not inform the doctors that it was the president. Some have said that the president was taken to the hospital in a 4x4 instead of an ambulance in which he could have gotten some first aid before reaching the hospital. All these rumours indicate that a Coroner's inquest needs to be done and results publicized. Not only would this dispel all the unseemly rumors that are going around, but if any wrongdoing was done leading to the death of the president, the culprits can be punished according to the law.

Great-Uncle, you now see the two traits that have been revealed about Ghana. The people can unite in times of grief and help each other but the government still has some learning to do about democracy and transparency. Well Great-Uncle, I look forward to your next letter with the hope that President Mills himself would tell you about what caused his demise so that I can inform the Ghanaian people.

Your great-nephew,

John Kwame Adams

Columnist: Adams, John Kwame