Wednesday, July 25, 2012

prez John Mills passes on

So prez Mills is no more; pal!
There are many things to say about what I got to know about this man but I can't say it all.

First my major disagreement with him. He preached 'no politics of insults'. He was always reiterating the fact that he wanted discourse in society and politics for that matter to be decorous. But let's face it, what is insult? insult could be anything to anyone. Many were they who felt insulted by some of Mills' statements and I recall what people said when he made the factual point clear that he was not a law enforcement officer. Some claimed he insulted them by that factual statement. So for me there should be insults. In the end let each one decide what is insulting to him/her and whether it's deserved or not. If the president tells you he's not a police officer and you say that factual statement is what is insulting to you then so be it. That must be your lot, idiotic as it is to me. Ahem! pal, I'm mourning my very sound minded president. But I insist that sound sense must prevail and not nonsense!

I was a child when I first saw him on TV partnering then prez Rawlings as veep candidate and subsequently veep. of course those were the days when I did not make much meaning of the body polity of Ghana aside the towering sharp military image and the cracking voice of JJ Rawlings and of course Nkrumah always came up every 6th of March. 

Come 2000 elections when Rawlings was no more qualified to stand for re-election after having served the stipulated 8 years by the constitution, he Rawlings without warning just thrust then vice prez Mills into the driving seat at an NDC rally in Swedru, declaring that if Mills would stand then he Rawlings would back him for president. Mills obliged. Congress subsequently endorsed him by consensus without opposition and then he became the presidential candidate. A democratic process with the thrust of Rawlings.

At the time however, the wind of change was blowing with some under-current! many were they who had grown tired of the Rawlings' era and his ways and desired change! Mills then was portrayed as one who was merely going to allow Rawlings to still hold sway over power and the general sense was just 'enough of Rawlings'. This was when I guess I started becoming more politically aware. I was one of those who gave 'change' a good chance of thought. I had no vote because I didn't qualify to register to vote but the idea of change appealed to me and I never argued against it. Those were the days I got to the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana and that was when the likes of Kofi Apraku Konadu mounted platforms and rattled their versions of American English, claiming to be speaking Economics. And I did not even bother to find out whether they made sense with their Economics-Champions posturing. And a hell of devil was made of the personality of Tony Aidoo then, I remember. How so wrong impressions can be created! So well the elections came and Mills lost in a run-off. I embraced the change. Even traders reduced prices on the market to embrace this change. I saw no wrong. It was all well and good. Fresh Air.

Mills did not fail to concede defeat. And he did it very quickly. Apparently some folks were not happy that he conceded defeat in the elections too quickly and it was said that his reply to them was 'ame dzi me p3 asomdwe' (as for me I'm for peace). Some people made fun of him but this profound statement spurned round and later metamophosed into his nickname: Asomdwehene! (The king of peace).

Mills led his party again to elections while in opposition in 2004 and by this time, haven become aware; haven witnessed enough of the rot of Kufour and his colleagues in power with the added insult to my being that little intelligence came out of the mouth of Kufour and and drawing lessons from even the late Dan Lartey who called for early elections just a few months into Kufour's first term for which reason he was bizarrely and indeed foolishly subjected to security interrogation, I felt very much inside my bone marrow that Kufour and his lot needed to be kicked out of power.

Such a waste of time and space he was save that he marked some change from the Rawlings monopoly over power. Mundane change! That's how I look at it with hindsight. So elections came but this time too I did not qualify to vote because by some bizarre handling of the registration requirements/timetable by Kufour administration I could not complete the cumbersome and retrogressive process (compared to the finer process for the 2000 elections under Rawlings) to qualify me. So again I did not get to vote for Mills this time as I warmed up to him. He lost. But again he did not fail to concede defeat, which action cemented his nickname as Asomdwehene!

I had by this time, with all the nonsensical machinations of Kufour and his Jake Obetsebi and all, come to the firm conclusion that these guys were up to no good. And hence Mills started representing my voice in the body polity of Ghana. Kufour on the other hand did nothing to prove me wrong. He rather worsened the situation with investments into frivolous things like presidential palace and his many trips abroad and he would not even speak intelligently to my senses. Well, I was determined then to vote against Kufour and his party's nominee Nana Akufo Addo. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo: That's another chap I remember for his screams during the 2000 elections when he claimed in dangme 'wa ma cha ke me' (we will change them). Alas by all standards of sanity, Nana Addo was even worse off than Kufour whom I wanted removed in 2004 (after Dan Lartey's call for early elections was ignored). Nana Addo proved to me he just spits out unintelligent stuff. So it was just a matter of course that I made sure I qualified to vote in the 2008 elections and I voted for Mills. Mills won this time around and it was in a run-off.

Nana Akuffo Addo said he won the first round. Pal, that's an idiotic thing to say. The constitution is clear about how anyone can win an election. If Nana Addo won the first round we'd not have had a run-off. Anyway, that's an aside. Lo and Behold it was such testing elections for Ghana's democracy as Nana Addo just was acting crazy with all sorts of machinations. In the end he failed to concede defeat. Instead he rather issued as very insulting statement claiming that he acknowledges the decision of the Electoral Commission and that he congratulates the winner. Pal, it's the people of Ghana who make the decision on who should be their president and not the EC. The EC is only mandated to conduct the elections and announce the results. But this is how Nana Addo chose to insult my being (I'd speak for myself) and yet some folks on his side jump over themselves to even insult me further by claiming that by that statement he conceded defeat to Mills. nonsense is enough a word!

All well and good. I was satisfied that at last I had a sensible person to be president over me! I did not vote for Mills because he made any promise. I can't take any human being's promise seriously. Different circumstances can  make the discarding of promises even more imperative than the desire to even remember them let alone that they be forced into implementation. For me President Mills embodied a person who was careful and sound, indeed, very sound with his thought. He demonstrated to me he was not one to be kicked around and he made it clear he did not rush into taking bogus decisions. These qualities are for me very primary before any economic theory or whatever. Any sound minded person who acts in like manner would likely take make sound judgement on issues be they economic or law or whatever based on available facts and for me these are what I seek in any leader. Attah Mills epitomized these in many ways and more. He even had tested knowledge in both law and economics to add.

These qualities Attah Mills exhibited throughout his presidency till I heard he was dead. Let any issue come and his response was just sensibly measured! I recall the case of Cote d' Ivoire and when Nana Addo came out like some zombie calling for Mills to merely follow some Ecowas decision on use of force, Mills response was that among other options he was pursuing he was being guided by the saying 'dzi wo fie asem' (mind your own issues). Such a profound statement. However, this statement which should have made people sit down to think rather got messed up by Mills own Foreign Minister on BBC after some people (including the BBC itself) decided to play mischief by claiming that Mills meant he did not care about Cote d' Ivoire. A very wicked and stupid bastardization of Mills statement there. How can any sensible person tell me that to say one is being guided by something means that person is merely following that thing and nothing else? Alas this was the foolish logic that we were rendered by some folks who I guess suffer head-blocks!

Prez Mills for me would go down in current history as the one who faced arguable the toughest human opposition to his presidency in Ghana; both from within and without his party. Rawlings would not give him much space. I had no problem with that. Mills too said he had no problem with that. Every president is supposed to be subjected to criticism anyway. But it became funny that Rawlings' wife had a grand idea to become president and so the criticisms from Rawlings became suspicious. That suspicion got some unguarded folks on Mills' side to also start making all sorts of rebuttals that were out of place as they twisted many of the stuff Rawlings said too. Mills himself remained calm and never once showed anger at Rawlings hitting hard at him. He remained focused on his job and declared so many times that he was not going to be distracted! Very profound. However, Konadu Rawlings pushed her agenda to be president and so she and Mills went to congress and Mills won by 97%. Classic feat in Ghana's electoral records.

Mills made it clear from the beginning of his term that he was going to seek re-election. I supported him and made ready to vote for him again. But now all that is no more! Mills is gone into the yonder I can only reach also when the time comes for my death which I plan and hope to embrace with a clear conscience and a smiling face.

Mills for me was more than a mere president and I morn him as such as really I don't just give my respect to just any Tom, Dick or Pussy who occupies the presidency! I pick and choose carefully. As for his achievements in office, I believe they are worthy of speaking for themselves in good measure. What he was able to do in 3 years is remarkable and makes one wonder why we allowed Kufour to waste 8 years of Ghana's time.

Pal, I just want to end my tribute here as I realize too many things passing through my head about Mills that I should mention but again I realize I can't mention all.

May he have a peaceful journey!


akuya osei said...

thanks for this novisi. since yesterday I have been unable to think coherently about the president's time. your piece is a refreshing reminder that resonates so much with my own sentiments. A very special president we were blessed with but special things don't often get as much recognition as what is the norm.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

You and I share similar beliefs and actions. This is the best piece I've read about the man since his death. He epitomises peace and vision. What he did in his three and half years is more than most presidents have done in two terms. That's just great.

On the lighter note, I didn't know you were that young to vote in 2000.

For those who wants to talk let them, after all that's what people want: to talk. It has always been easy to talk but difficult to act.

Kwaku Yeboah said...

Novisi thank you for such a comprehensive tribute and history lessons from your point of view. There is not doubt that although the late Prof was not energetic he was still able to achieve a lot. May his soul rest in peace.

Abu Mubarik said...

Like your tribute but i guess u and I are yet to agree on one issue. What appears to be a tribute ended up roaring at opposition NPP.

novisi said...

Akuya, you are very right. We had a very special president.

Nana F-A, yeah I missed the registration for the 2000 elections by the 'teeth'. I fell short of qualification by some months.

Kwaku, Thanks for sharing. I think I'd next write about all the noise about health and work. I don't know why folks made a big deal of his health even after he made it clear that yes he had some problem but felt fit enough to work. If we had people committed to work like he did We'd be better off.

Abu, so your problem is NPP. ok. That's your choice. You choose to protect the interest of NPP first. I have no problem with that. However, don't double speak to me because I'd see it. lol. You can't like my tribute and not like it at the same time. You either like it or your don't. I have no problem dis/agreeing with you. What matters for me is substance: coherence, facts, logical, etc.

Kwaku Yeboah said...

@Novisi did you have any more insight into the happenings at the Castle than the average Ghanaian? I can't wait to hear your take on the health and work of Prof Mills. Perhaps you have information on his post morterm report that we don't. What I do agree with you is that he was a very good president. Sadly he was undermined from within and outside his party because of his humbe nature.

Jerome said...

How did I miss this? Novisi, a simple mention on twitter too you can't do?

Anyway this is a 'classic novisi' piece for JEA Mills.

Think-About-It said...

well said about Mills.
(especially coming from an ex-Ghanaian)