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President Mills on a Sacred Mission

Thu, 8 Apr 2010 Source: Casely-Hayford, Sydney

By Sydney Casely-Hayford, www.bizghana.com

In a tirade attacking the Customs and Excise Unit, President Evans Atta Mills has cautioned that he will not give up the sacred mission conferred on him by Ghanaians to build a better Ghana and he will get there surely but slowly. Information Minister John Tia debunked recent speculation that the President is not well and cannot travel anywhere.

Such reports are baseless, “The President has been moving across the country. The President thinks that he should do more at home and that is why he is concentrating here. His vice is equally competent and therefore he has confidence in him and can send him anywhere. Who can say that the President is unwell? He is performing his duties, he is all over the country and how can somebody just get up and say that?” Mr Tia said.

President John Evans Atta Mills says he is unfazed by criticisms that he is not delivering on his promises. ??The President said his government has a four-year mandate to ensure that the confidence reposed in it by Ghanaians is justified.

Addressing staff of the Finance Ministry, the President said his government will translate its promises into reality despite the mounting criticism. “Criticisms there will be, noises there will be; but noises and criticism can never drown the sacred facts on the ground. We are on a journey. We have a four-year mandate and we are always aware that the people of Ghana have reposed confidence in us and the least that we can do is to ensure that we justify this confidence,” he said.

President John Atta Mills has taken to dropping on Ministries and Agencies without prior announcements. He visited offices of the Internal Revenue Service; Value Added Tax Secretariat; Customs, Excise & Preventive Services and the Finance Ministry recently.

President Mills is fighting a losing battle with corruption, but unlike his predecessors he is not denying the level of corruption and difficulty of correcting the systemic faults in some institutions.

At the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) he chastised CEPS to “live up to its expectation and its standard because in quite a number of cases we are under-collecting. If I ever doubted that some of the people in CEPS were really working against the economy, what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my ears convinced me beyond any reasonable doubt that if this is a person who has sworn to work in the interest of our nation and he can boast so brazenly and even aide smugglers to carry up cocoa across the border. I am saying, my brothers and sisters, this is the time for introspection,” he said. Recent violent spats within the NDC youth organs and persistent fighting in the Northern regions still continue to remind Government of the challenges of a polarized country.

Speaking openly on radio, disappointed NDC national youth aspirant, Ras Mubarak, called out NDC grassroots supporters not to elect President Mills as Presidential candidate in 2012. His reason is the slow pace of delivery, which President Mills himself has described as “slow, but sure”. That he sees the presidency as a sacred obligation is clear from his national call for prayers and fasting in the early days of March 2010, his declared preference that Ghana would be a Prayer Camp and his recent rhetoric flavored with biblical choice words.

There is mounting push back by society from the level of noise from church services and other religious delivery. All night sessions in residential areas, street corner preachers, passenger bus deacons and bishops, sermons and all day street yelling, have become an annoyance in Ghana. In Accra and Kumasi there is a demand for noise control and a gradual insistence that the Jesus callers and evangelists must be checked. Less church and more work.

You only hear the call of the Muezzin in the early hours and prayer time. But, not so the Christians. All day, all night and no sleep for Jesus!

Columnist: Casely-Hayford, Sydney