Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Mills Flies To South Africa

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate, Prof John Evans Atta Mills appears to be in political coma as he took a quick dash to South Africa to attend to health-related issues, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.

The NDC flagbearer has suspended political activities to the discomfiture of his party members, with his South African trip creating anxiety about his true state of health.

But his new Campaign Coordinator, Alex Segbefia said no cause for alarm, pointing out that the news about Prof Mills' health was mere propaganda.

Prof Mills shockingly issued a statement suspending political activities till the end of the Nations' Cup, a statement that has attracted condemnation in NDC circles.

According to concerned party members, the Nations' Cup would rather provide him with more opportunities to do his door-to-door politics since most people would be at home, claiming that it was a bungled opportunity for their flagbearer.


The Mills' Campaign Team Communications Director, Koku Anyidoho, on Monday issued a statement saying that due to the Ghana 2008, the professor was suspending all high-profile political activities.

Apparently at the time that statement was issued, Prof Mills is believed to have checked into a Johannesburg hospital for treatment for undisclosed health issues.

Meanwhile DAILY GUIDE has however learnt that the NDC presidential candidate would undergo cataract operation to correct an eye problem.

Prof Mills left Accra just after attending the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Ohene Djan Stadium on Sunday.

According to party sources, the NDC presidential candidate who has been frequenting South Africa for medical treatment would use the trip to review his health condition.


Alex Segbefia however told an Accra private radio station yesterday that there was nothing wrong with Prof Mills' health. He said the flagbearer's trip to South Africa was more of a political nature than any other reasons.

According to him, Prof Mills' appearance should not be misconstrued as a sign of sickness.

He explained that the flagbearer is on a weight-shedding routine, stressing that it was healthier and fashionable to be slim nowadays, especially at his age.

According to him, Prof Mills had been shedding weight since 2004 on doctor's advice, and that his door-to-door campaign exemplifies his fitness.

Segbefia stated that there was nothing unusual about Prof Mills' visit to South Africa, stressing that he would meet socialist friends while there.


He added that Prof Mills was responsible enough to throw in the towel if it became clear that he could not carry on further, hinting that the NDC's campaign would pick up next month, by which time Prof would have returned.

The NDC presidential candidate had visited South Africa in 2006 where he underwent months of treatment for what he called sinus problem.

His health issue, which was pushed to the backburner, bounced back into the public domain yesterday, with a report in an Accra bi-weekly, The Heritage.

The Heritage, under a screaming headline: "Mills' Health Scare, Can He Contest In December?" raised questions about the fitness of the NDC flagbearer for the December 7 elections in view of his perceived poor health.

"Prof Mills is battling with throat and other health conditions that may make it impossible for him to campaign vigorously in the run-up to the December presidential election," the paper had reported.

Prof Mills' recent figure looks slimmer than when his health issue became public discourse, with calls for him to step down in the run-up to the NDC's flagbearership contest in 2006.

He had earlier been treated in China without success, after which he turned to a South African hospital, claiming he left the Asian country because of language barrier.

Prof Mills took offence when his political opponents sought to make an issue out of his ill-health, saying he was not a superman and was therefore bound to fall ill just like any other person.

"Atta Mills is not a superman. Who does not have a hospital card?" he queried.

According to him, even the Apostle Paul fell ill therefore his sickness should not be seen as anything extraordinary.