Former President Jerry John Rawlings has blamed handlers of the late President John Evans Atta Mills for not giving him proper counseling, which situation led to his sudden death on Tuesday.
Rawlings said President Mills’s death could have been avoided if officials of the administration were more open about his health condition.
“It was quite a shock to both my wife and I but it was not unexpected because he’s been battling the cancer for quite a while,” Mr Rawlings said in a widely broadcast interview on BBC yesterday.
Speaking from Congo Brazzaville where he and his wife Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings were participating in activities marking the launch of Forbes Africa, Mr. Rawlings, founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), of which President Mills was leader until his untimely death, said, “Quite frankly, I think had he (referring to the late president) been advised and done something wiser earlier on, he could probably have survived for…I don’t know, another six-seven months I guess. This is certainly the wrong time for him to go considering that election is around the corner in December.”
Mr Rawlings and his wife were in that country at the invitation of President Denis Sassou N’Guesso.
Information picked up by DAILY GUIDE from the presidency indicated that the late President Mills started shivering last Friday and the situation got worse on his birthday, Saturday July 21, when he turned 68.
He was however said to have been rushed to the 37 Military Hospital on Tuesday when he started coughing and vomiting blood.
Even as he was being rushed to the hospital, our information is that he was made to sign a letter to the Speaker of Parliament that he was going to Nigeria.
Consequently, Rawlings noted: “It got too tight; it got extremely tight and the poor professor has passed away.”
Asked whether he was concerned about the upcoming elections, he said, “yeah, both of them are, actually”, leaving the interviewer without a clue as to who the other person he talked about was- whether it was his wife who is said to be eyeing the presidency or leader of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo.
On the legacy Mills had left for Ghana, the former president had this to say: “He’s played his part. I think as my vice president, he was indeed one of the finest but there again, considering that the cancer affected both his eye and his ear.”
Mr Rawlings said, “He couldn’t sustain three hours per day; so it was naturally going to affect his performance and that’s why I think he would have done just as well or even better.
“The only unfortunately thing is that…some of the cold-blooded killings that took place before we came into office could not be re-investigated. I would have wished that he had really done that but let’s see what can be done with the time that’s left.”
On the question of whether he considered his one-time Communications Minister and newly sworn-in president, John Dramani Mahama as a man of vision who could make the country move forward, Mr. Rawlings was emphatic: “I don’t know but I hope so.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu