A decade after his untimely death, a foundation to promote the legacy of President Mills has been launched in Accra.
In his keynote address, the venerable Kwame Pianim did justice to President Mills, the occasion and Ghana. I shall return to his remarks on President Mills later but he offered succinct and pointed advice to our politicians, our lawyers, journalists, our parties and the public on our nation and its challenges. He urged our politicians to be courageous, our lawyers to defend all while invoking the courage of Justice Annie-Jiagge, urged journalists to eschew unprincipled feeding at the hands of those who wish to corrupt them and ended up urging the public to support MPs, judges and the constitution. Indeed, he vindicated the courage and judgment of those who invited him. I hope Parliament will render the apology he demanded on behalf of all Ghanaians. The organization was flawless, except for the absence of Koku Anyidoho. Based on the passion with which he has guarded the legacy of President Mills, he deserved to be– and had a responsibility– to be there. And I daresay that the Asomdwehene would have been pleased to see him there.
Akora Pianim described the arc of President Mills life, from his arrival at Achimota school as a teenager, through his Presidency. He described him as a man “who danced to his own tune”, and ” a man who reached across”. Furthermore, he called the departed President “decent”, ” honest” and “a man of character”– ” a stickler for the rules”. And he backed these up with examples that brought the man to life.
He talked of the man who slept in Yaw Osafo-Maafo’s house rather his NDC brother’s house, the man who returned the envelop containing a bribe from a businessman and the man who stopped the use of the tax office for the harassment of political opponents. Indeed, there are other stories. Who can forget President Mahama’s moving account of the pivotal argument between Presidents Mills and Rawling in early 2009, as recounted at the launch of the Presidential Transition Bill. President Rawlings, it was revealed wanted a wholesale arrest of NPP functionaries. President Mills responded, “You can’t just arrest people in a democracy” and refused to authorize that. Their relationship never recovered and each time President Rawlings attacked President Mills, there were cheers from NPP media and functionaries!
But the central question is this: Why is it that despite his sterling personal qualities, President Mills didn’t have a transformative effect on our politics? Why did corruption grow despite his honesty?
Why didn’t bipartisanship flourish despite his commitment to reaching out to the other side?
Might it be that our system is so broken that the virtues of an individual leader does not matter?
Or was he ineffective at executing policies consistent with his vision and qualities?
As we reflect on President Mills and his life, we must, in true bipartisan fashion, search for how to embed the qualities he had, in our body politic.
As Kwame Pianim put it, “What is wrong with our constitution are us”.
May President Mills rest in peace and may we all build a Ghana that would honour his decency, honesty and willingness to reach out to the other side.
The New Crusading GUIDE is a privately own newspaper in Ghana with Mr Abdul Malik Kweku Baako as its Editor-In-Chief. The Deputy Editor-In-Chief is Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the International undercover investigative journalist. We give you the latest news
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