The late President John Evans Atta Mills’ National Security Advisor, Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, has validated speculations making the rounds that the erstwhile First Lady, Ernestina Naadu Mills, was against the continuous stay in office of the deceased president prior to his death.
Apparently, the security chief had had countless encounters with the late president who had indicated his intention to relinquish his position as the president due to the countless criticisms targeted at him and his government as well as his failing health.
General Nunoo-Mensah, in an interview on Radio Gold last Friday, explained that on one occasion, he had a heart-to-heart discussion with President Mills and in his native Fante dialect, the deceased president stated, “General, my wife says I should stop this job”.
This admission corroborated information gathered by DAILY GUIDE that in her grief after the death of her husband, Naadu Mills broke down in uncontrollable tears and in her vituperations, complained that she told her husband to resign but high party officials of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) would not allow it.
Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicated that when handlers of the late president went to console Naadu at their Regimanuel residence, she nearly drove them out asking, “What do you want from me? I don’t need you here. S3 asa! De3 mo p3 aa na mo nsa aka no. Go away!” literally translated, “hope you’ve gotten what you wanted”.
Naadu’s concern might have been due to the deteriorating health status of her husband as well as the daily insults heaped on him.
In an interview with BBC about two years ago, Naadu was heard lamenting over the insults on her husband, virtually calling for a truce. “My husband will not take Ghana anywhere,” she said in apparent anger.
Indeed, close friends of ex-President Mills had on several occasions tried to convince him to “take a rest” due to his declining state of health.
His close friend and Chaplain at the Chapel in the Presidency, Osu, Rev. Dr Nii Amu Darku, was widely broadcast last week, saying that when President Mills returned from his June 16 medical check-up in the United States, his doctors detected something unusual that would require him to take a long rest.
Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings also hinted that the demise of the president might have been pushed beyond his capacity. According to Jerry Rawlings, Mills was suffering from a cancer that affected his sight and hearing; hence he could hardly work beyond three hours in a day.
His cleric, Prophet T.B. Joshua, was also said to have admitted the ex-president’s illness. He said he had travelled with him on several occasions for spiritual healing.
NDC government officials and presidential aides at the Castle however strongly denied any such malaise, stressing he was in the best of health.
He himself admitted his exuberance and dismissed critics who thought he was not healthy enough to withstand the rigours of his responsibilities as a president and flagbearer for the 2012 elections in December.
A few weeks before his death, he was billed to retire to the plush Presidential Lodge at Peduase, up the Akuapim Mountains to rest before resuming work.
However, he sneaked back into town, complaining about boredom and the fact that his place was at the seat of government in the Osu Castle.
Not long after his return from the Peduase Lodge, he was whisked away by his aides to several official assignments including the inspection and commissioning of projects.
This move was criticized as a public relations gimmick to show the general public that the president was healthy when actually his true state of health was deteriorating.
Curiously, during the numerous engagements beamed on several mass media, the late president looked visibly frail; his voice was suddenly cranky and choky with a dint of a nasal tone. When attention was drawn to this, his aides, as usual, dismissed the concerns and rather blamed the microphones he spoke into.
The tragic turn of events that led to the eventual death of the president was being blamed on top NDC functionaries for insisting that the president should remain in office even though he was ill.
Critics said their insistence was just a selfish move to secure their personal interests.
General Nunoo-Mensah however blamed the death of the president on the intense criticisms targeted at his administration.
In the interview on Radio Gold, he explained that he had had several discussions with the late president whom he described as being close to him.
He said in most of the discussions, the late president had wanted to throw in the towel, but was restrained.
He said the late president was overwhelmed by the criticism of his government. “He showed strength in public, but privately, the insults got to him,” said the security advisor.
According to the Brigadier General, he had personally talked him out of resigning his post by telling him that his position as president was bestowed on him by divine providence, hence he could not leave and abandon his people.
He said he compared the frustrated president’s predicament to the Biblical figure, Job, whose fortunes fizzled out overnight, yet he maintained his faith in God.
He said he told the president, “Mr. President, please go and read your Job…have faith in God and stay strong.”
“It got to him. What got to him were the insults, for doing nothing, for doing his best for his people,” he stated.
But the security advisor had been widely criticized both in the media and online for trying to rationalize the cause of the president’s untimely death.
The outstanding criticism was that all heads of state inevitably faced criticism, yet it did not drive them to their graves.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Board Kojo Twum-Boafo believed the founder of the NDC and former President Rawlings could be partly blamed for President Mills’ death.
“President Rawlings, by acts of commission and omission, has been responsible for the death of three ex-presidents. His mouth has done in the fourth (referring to President Mills),” he said in an interview on Radio Gold.
But he said, “Let’s not allow him to take where he is going because I am very sure the next target is John Mahama so we shouldn’t allow that,” claiming that “the irony and the hypocrisy of Jerry Rawlings is amazing.”
This, he said, was because several people went missing under his watch when he was a head of state.
For him, what Rawlings said about the late president on the BBC network was unconscionable and demeaning to the government and people of Ghana.