Whether one likes it or not, President John Evans Atta Mills will go down in the annals of Ghana’s history as a president who hated unnecessary persecution of political opponents.
In the aftermath of being sworn-in as president in January 2009, there were calls from sections of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by the former President Jerry John Rawlings on President Mills, to politically persecute some leading members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
These informal calls many Ghanaians heard that the late President Mills refused to act on have been confirmed by no mean person than a leading member of the NDC, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
Delivering the second Annual John Evans Atta Mills Memorial Lecture, Dr. Chambas revealed that “despite the vilification and persecution of his party and personalities while in opposition, President Atta Mills steadfastly resisted the temptation to subject the now-defeated NPP stalwarts to the same dose of revenge, much to the irritation and anger of powerful forces within the NDC. Like Mahatma Gandhi, he believed that ‘an eye for an eye would only end up making the whole world blind.’
According to Dr Chambas, President Mills was perhaps “one of the most vilified leaders in Ghana’s history for his apparent ‘go-slow’ approach to governance, self-effacing personality and lack of ‘radicalism’, but he widened the spheres of due process, rule of law and free speech more than any other leader.”
He also hinted that, the late Mills believed in the dynamism and potential of the youth and entrusted a record number of young technocrats with positions of responsibility in his government.
According to him, President Mills did not believe in the over flogged clichés that had become the favorites of the typical African politician, always talking about the ‘future’ belonging to the youth, and urging the youth to wait for their turn…He believed in the ‘now’ and felt ‘if you were good enough, you were old enough’. He trusted the enthusiasm and dynamism of the youth but mentored and monitored and urged them to be humble and accountable.”
From the above revelation, it is therefore not surprising that President Mills was revered for his exemplary leadership both on the Africa continent and the world at large.