From today, I intend to publish the writings of one or two “guest bloggers” every week. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send me an email through Today, Clement Appah, who is studying at the University of Lancaster, starts us off by writing about President Mills’ rather uncharacteristic outbursts last Tuesday. He describes it as a “blunder” and urges the president to never do it again…


Dear Prof. Mills,

I think you got it all wrong. What were you talking about? Who is usurping your power? Why did you threaten Ghanaians? Who, in particular, were you referring to?

We fought for and decided on living in a country where we will be free to assemble and free to make our views known. THAT SHOULD NEVER BE LOST ON YOU, Mr President.

I have been very much ashamed of some of the issues that have occupied the Government since they came into office. I used to talk to my supervisor about Ghana with Pride. Now I purposely decide not to mention Ghana when we meet because of the pettiness that has characterised the activities of functionaries of the Government. Why the morbid fascination with putting the former president on the spot all the time? Why is it that everybody from your office, Mr President, has something different to say about what should be given to the former president (Office space, car, etc)? In my view, these are some of the things that have kept the tension simmering in the country.

I have also been worried because it appears, Mr President, that by your silence over the Kufour-benefit and by allowing everyone in your government who can talk to come on air to say what s/he thinks about things relating to Mr. Kufour, you are perpetuating a situation that we were hoping will end. I mean the situation where Mr. Kufour and Mr. Rawlings were not on good terms.

One more thing that has kept me worried for some time now is the rate at which respect for the aged is eroding in our country. I really wonder if Mr Kufour were not the former president and had remained a private person any of those people – Government functionaries and others – would have been able to stand and virtually insult him, the way they do now. I think, a seventy year old man should deserve our respect. But, what do we see? People who could pass for his (grand) children, in the name of politics, say anything they want about him and to him on air. Mr. President, you have not found it necessary to call your men and the whole nation to order.

Don’t you realize, President Atta Mills that Mr Kufour’s silence over the past two months is an invitation for you to call for sanity in the discussion of issues relating to the former president? Don’t you realize, J. E. Atta Mills that it is in your own interest to uphold the honour of the office of the former president? Do I have to say that on these matters I have been disappointed by your deafening silence Mr. President?

Now, with all that has gone on, I doubt if the window of opportunity offered us by providence to have a sitting and former president live peaceably is not fast closing.

The first assignment for the Council of State, in my opinion, is not the review of the Chinenry Hesse Committee report on emolument for former office holders. Their first assignment, as I see it, is a review of the way things concerning the office of the former president are handled on radio. We need to have some sanity in the relationship between our former and sitting presidents

With all the things I have noted above that are causing me and, I believe, a great many others, untold shame and worry, the least I expected, Mr. President, was a threat from you.
Who is threatening you? Who is attempting to usurp your authority? Did you have to remind us that you are the president of Ghana?

If by threatening us, Mr. President, you hoped to prove that you are powerful, then you have failed miserably. This is a blunder that, in my opinion, should not EVER happen again. We know who is in power. You won the election in December 2008. We are aware of that and need not be reminded of it.
When people are worried about anything and they talk, the least we expect from you Mr. President, is to make them aware that you will take care of their concerns.

I will not want to talk about what the Minority in Parliament complained about. They did not say anything new. It is true that they (the minority) should take some of the blame for some of the issues they raised in their press conference and I did not quite agree with their saying that they will advice themselves. But, the truth is they are no longer in power; you are. They no longer control the security forces; you do. So, please understand that you were not voted into power to tell us how you can deal with those who make their views known. I suggest that you were voted into power to address the concerns/problems of those who will have the temerity to make their views known to you. And even more, to listen for the unspoken heart-felt needs of those who would not/cannot so much as lift their voices to express their views.

Mr. President, did you realise that the journalist there in the Castle clapped for you when you spoke? I heard them clap. I want to suggest to you that you were so much out of character that they felt you were acting. I want to suggest that, as a nation, we want to be assured that we will not have to endure any more of the aberration in character that occurred on Tuesday, 17th March 2009.

I will end here and hope the Council of State will do what they have to do on this matter.

Yours Sincerely
A Worried Ghanaian

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