They say “where there is mystery the mind goes to the darkest places,” so it was no surprise that President Mills’ silence in the past weeks led to rumors of his death. The President is not the most visible man here; he rarely speaks to local press, when he does it is never direct. We are often told “the President is very upset” by members of his communications team when we complain.
But he does show himself every now and then, he was in Ashiaman asking a teenager whose father had drowned in floods to pray for God’s grace – knowing how ineffective his disaster management organization was. He went to a market just to confirm kenkey prices. And two weeks ago he was at the airport to assess the impact of the plane crash and console survivors.
In the past couple of weeks, the news has been full of reports of violent clashes across the country-from people slashing heads with machetes in Northern Ghana, through the Central Region, where some Fantes in Ekumfi Narkwa turned on Ewes in the area over the beheading of a family head. Then there were the clashes between the members of the Zongo Community in Hohoe and the indigenes.
It was the bloodiest of all!
Three people died. property worth thousands of cedis destroyed and over six thousand people displaced. The situation was so bad; a curfew has been imposed on Hohoe. Even that did not elicit a word from the Presidency.
Off course in someone’s brilliant mind, a trip to the area by the Vice President was enough to ease the fears of the many worried about the seeming rise in ethnic tensions ahead of the December elections.
By Saturday night, rumors of the President’s death had peaked. Thankfully he wasn’t, but he was on his way to the United States for a medical check-up.
I can forgive him for not speaking when Ghanaians needed reassurance. But I cannot make a leap over his trip to the United States for medical care. Couldn’t he have been treated by local doctors? Or the hospitals do not have the equipment needed for his treatment?
Ghanaian doctors are reported to be some of the best in the world so it has to be the lack of equipment. And that makes me angry. Our leaders are elected and paid to improve the quality of all our lives, not just theirs. I don’t know what ails the President but I wonder if he knows that the poor folks in Hohoe who suffer same do not have access to excellent healthcare he will get in the United States. Not even if the person can afford to pay full cost.
Many of the hospitals here are death traps. Everyday Ghanaians who cannot afford to travel abroad for check-ups die from diseases which are no longer treated in hospitals elsewhere. Others also die from treatable diseases because doctors here did not have the tools to diagnose them.
It is a shame that in a better Ghana the President and other public officials have to seek medical care abroad. Especially since in his state of the nation address the President stated that hospitals in Ghana have been improved.
The President does deserve the best of medical care and so do we. At least, we deserve a healthcare system which works.