With the startling revelations in the Wikileaks secret cables, it seems the two main political parties are poised for a tit-for-tat over their flagbearers on the contents of the leaks.
Yesterday, the Young Patriots, a youth group in the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), held a press conference and claimed that $5million was being spent on the health of President Atta Mills annually.
‘We have done our projections on how much it costs to do radiotherapy. We have also taken into account the expenses together with number of times top specialists are flown in and out of the country to treat our President, and have come to the conclusion that the taxpayer spends at least about $5million on him, annually.’
They therefore asked, through Hopeson Adoye, a leading member of the group, if President Mills was fit to lead the nation.
Virtually intruding into the privacy of the president, they said, ‘The people of Ghana have every right to know about the state of the President’s health.
‘We are here today to touch on the single most important item of our time and yet an item so far curiously ignored by the nation and treated like a taboo subject but which we all know is widely discussed across Ghana but in private. By this, we mean the state of health of our President.’
‘We want to know what is actually wrong with the President and what it means to his capacity to lead the nation as well as how much the state is spending on his treatment,’ he added.
Mr. Adoye said, ‘While we are not against the state spending to keep the leader alive and healthy, we are saying that we need to know the truth. We are calling for transparency and accountability.’
He said for some time, the rumour in the country that President Mills was not in the best of health had not been in doubt and added that it was partly the cause of his ‘bad and ineffective leadership’.
‘We had no consensus on the diagnoses but once Baba Jamal, a deputy Minister of Information, has alleged that the president is suffering from throat cancer, we have now realised that president Mills lied to Ghanaians about his health to get into the highest office of the land.
‘He told US Embassy officials via leaked cables that he had sinus infection but he was rather suffering from throat cancer per statement by his own deputy Minister of Information and we have no reason to doubt the minister,’ he stated.
‘Baba Jamal has now narrowed the illness to laryngeal cancer, commonly known as throat cancer – the fatal sickness of drunkards and heavy chain smokers. An illness that causes hallucinations and can lead to possible eyesight and hearing problems as well,’ he claimed.
President John Evans Atta Mills
‘Some other quoted risk factors are likely, in part, to be related to prolonged alcohol and tobacco consumption. These include low socioeconomic status, and oral sex, especially with multiple partners, forcing the disease to get hold after the person hits more than 55 years’.
Mr. Adoye said, ‘While we don’t have to take everything said as the gospel truth, we believe the President owes it a duty to the Ghanaian public to come out with the truth of his medical record and the actual state of his health.’
He noted that as a result of the president’s ill health, ‘there is currently a political vacuum which appears to be caused by the president spending more time on his health than delivering on the so-called Better Ghana Agenda’.
Mr. Adoye said, ‘Those who are benefiting from that vacuum, (the Kitchen cabinet, the unelected cabal) would do anything to hide the truth from Ghanaians, as we saw in Nigeria in the latter years of President Umaru Musah Yar’ Adua
‘We have a major problem of poverty to deal with in this country, to add a sick executive to the list of our already overwhelming problems is too expensive!’
‘The dishonesty and deceit are too much for far too long. The people of Ghana deserve to know and we call on the president to be true to his oath of office and to tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,’ he added.
John Kumah, another member of the group, said even though the NPP might not believe wholly the Wikileaks report, some NDC activists including ministers of state were feeding on the leaked cables to destroy the reputation of the NPP and its flagbearer and ‘that is forcing us to state the issues as it is (sic)’.
‘When Nana Akufo-Addo gave the liberty lecture on the eve of the Muslim holiday, the NDC tried to incite Muslims against him and the NPP; yet, Fiifi Kwetey, a Deputy Minister of Finance, is quoted in the leaks as saying that no Muslim can ever become President in Ghana and they (NDC) are silent about it.
‘Look at President Mills’s comment in the leaked cables about Ashantis…if this had come from any NPP member, they will do propaganda by inciting the people against the NPP.’
‘The situation,’ he stated, ‘has come to this because the President has failed to take decent action against his appointees who go about insulting everybody. They are not interested in issues-based discussion and are always trivializing and insulting people and that is pushing us into it.’
Nii Kwatei Titus-Glover, who is in charge of operations of the Young Patriots, said, ‘We have always tried to engage in the discourse of reasoning but because the NDC has made insults the status-quo, we will prove to them they are not more human than any other group of persons.’
Yaw Adomako Baafi, another leading member, said the over-pontification of the virtues of President Mills was forcing the NDC to engage in all sorts of propaganda even where certain issues concerning the president were found to be on the contrary.