Mills resigned as President because of Rawlings – Kwabena Ahwoi
The late President John Evans Atta Mills packed his belongings to leave the presidency halfway into his tenure, NDC stalwart Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi has claimed.
The founding member of the NDC, who has served in different positions since the inception of the party, pointed fingers at former President Jerry John Rawlings for pushing his successor to the wall.
Prof. Mills served as Vice President from 1996 to 2000 under former President Rawlings. He was subsequently elected as flagbearer but failed in two presidential elections, losing to the NPP’s John Agyekum Kufour.
Prof. Mills, however, won the 2008 election and was sworn into office on January 7, 2009.
But the relationship between him and former President Rawlings fell on rocks.
This was partly due to Prof. Mills distancing himself from Mr. Rawlings to prove to Ghanaians that he would not act under the dictates of Mr Rawlings.
Before the relationship turned sour, Rawlings single-handedly chose Prof Mills as his successor, in what famously became the Swedru Declaration. That decision split the NDC as Goosie Tanoh, who had eyes on the presidency left to form the National Reform Party.
In an interview with Citi TV’s Footprints on Saturday, August 1, monitored by theghanareport.com, Prof Ahwoi revealed how one of the utterances by Mr Rawlings resulted in a situation where Prof. Mills chose the option to abandon his term.
Prof. Ahwoi narrated that “one particular incident that caused President Mills nearly to resign. In fact, he resigned. The only thing that saved this country was that he called to tell me that he was resigning”.
“I have given up…Have you heard what Jerry went to say about me in Tamale?” Professor Ahwoi recounted Prof Mills’ statement spoken in the Fante language.
At a time when the former minister was at an IEA workshop at Aburi in the Eastern Region, Prof Mills instructed him to get the tape of Mr Rawlings’ speech and listen to determine if Mr Rawlings was acting appropriately against him.
“I have resigned, and I don’t want anybody to try to persuade me,” he recalled the utterance of Prof Mills at the time.
“And I said: ‘Mr President, I believe that you have resigned. You have decided to resign, but I also believe that you’re not sure you have taken the right decision.You want a second opinion, otherwise, you wouldn’t have called to tell me. I would’ve heard [about it] in the media’” Prof Ahwoi stressed.
Prof Ahwoi then called Captain Tsikata and arranged a meeting together with Totobi Kwakye and Prof Mills. The meeting lasted for more than four hours.
“About midnight, we managed to convince him (Prof Mills) to stay,” Prof Ahwoi stated.
Professor Ahwoi, who served as Minister for Local Government and Rural Development from 1990 to 2001 under the Rawlings regime, indicated that Prof Mills “had actually packed his things” and ready to move out of the Presidential Villa.
Mills eventually died on July 24, 2012. He became the first Ghanaian President to die in office.
Professor Ahwoi has documented his relationship with Mr Rawlings in his yet to be launched book titled, “Working with Rawlings”.
Tamale comments by former President Rawlings
During the anniversary celebrations to mark the June 4 uprising in Tamale in 2010, Mr Rawlings accused the Mills administration of rolling back the gains of the party.
He suggested that the Mills administration had lost the moral ground to fight corruption by failing to investigate the corrupt activities of the previous New Patriotic Party government headed by former President Kufuor.
Mr Rawlings further indicated that the inaction of the Mills’ administration had emboldened state institutions, to engage in massive corruption that was causing the country millions of cedis.
“Our own government does not seem to be performing as well as we all expected. This is most unfortunate,” Mr Rawlings noted.
According to a GNA report in 2010, Mr Rawlings alleged that the Mills government was trying to corrupt the party structures of the NDC, and was shameful that it had to use money, other inducements and barricades of soldiers to prevent some party members from attending a previous NDC delegates congress held at Tamale to elect the party’s national executives.
In a related development, Prof. Ahwoi had suggested that if former President Mills had not intervened, many NPP appointees would have ended up in jail.
According to him, several appointees of former President Kufuor were involved in misconduct, which was detected after the NPP exited office in 2000.
“We built criminal dockets against more than 100 NPP appointees,” he stated.
“He (Professor Mills) sat back, looked at me and said ‘so you want us to do this to them (NPP) when they come (to power) then they would also do it to us, and the cycle continues. Kwamena, I won’t do it’”
“So that is how they got away with ‘murder’. Today, they get up and say that if they had done anything wrong, we would have prosecuted them,” he stated in an interview with Joy FM, which was monitored by theghanareport.com