Confusion is brewing in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the seat of government over the role of President Atta Mills in his re-election bid on December 7, 2012.
Though Mills is seeking re-election, issues have been raised as to whether or not he can endure the rigour associated with the campaign in view of his failing health.
But handlers of the President including Operations Director at the Castle, who is also the NDC parliamentary candidate for the Odododiodoo constituency, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, and the garrulous Communications Director at the presidency, Koku Anyidoho, are giving conflicting accounts regarding the President’s role in the campaign process.
The NDC Propaganda Secretary, Richard Quashigah, even made matters worse when he said the President would only be waving without speaking at rallies.
While Koku claimed the President would hit the road, Nii Lantey insisted the ‘old man’ would not be part of the mainstream campaign but rather stay in the office and work, giving credence to the speculations that Mills could not endure a long haul campaign.Nii Lantey told Accra-based Citi FM that the President had a lot on his hands including official duties and would not shirk his sworn oath to serve the people.
“He has to stay in the office, do what he has to do in the office and when time permits that he has official duties to perform outside the office, he will do so and his work will talk for him,” he explained.
In his place, Nii Lantey said, “I will be a forerunner for him, I’m preparing the ground for him then he will step into Odododiodoo gallantly and in his magnificence and wrap up.”
The situation has given much room for speculation, with some linking the President’s supposed inability to campaign to his nasal twang which keeps degenerating from bad to worse.
This is believed to be part of the reasons President Mills recently invited former President Rawlings to the Castle to help him to campaign for the 2012 elections.
It is believed that Nii Lantey deliberately put out the information to condition the minds of Ghanaians ahead of the campaign to avoid any surprises.
The GNA on Thursday reported, “President Mills, poised to win the 2012 elections, for a second term, is set for the electioneering on the message of peace and development.”
It quoted Mr. Anyidoho, who was recently barred from speaking for the President as saying, “The President has often said God himself will lead us through the elections” when he spoke to journalists in Accra.
The Communications Director at the Castle was said to be giving a brief on the preparedness of President Mills’ campaign before the NDC officially launches its 2012 campaign in August.
Not too long ago, Propaganda Secretary of the NDC, Richard Quashigah, also said on an Accra-based radio station that President Mills would not campaign and that his works would speak for themselves and that when he mounted a campaign platform, he would only have to wave at the crowd and people would go and vote for him.
The issue about the President’s health has virtually become a taboo in Ghana, with those seeking to know the exact ailment affecting him being tagged as enemies of the ruling NDC administration.
Sekou Nkrumah, son of Ghana’s first president who resigned from the NDC after campaigning for the party to win the election, conceded that the president was not fit, pointing out that even in 2008, he struggled to campaign because of the his health condition.
Yet Nii Lantey Vanderpuye insisted, “He is stronger and healthier than any presidential candidate.”
It is therefore not clear whether or not President Mills would indeed be able to campaign.