Ghana President quashes rumour of his deathBy FRANCIS KOKUTSE in Accra | Monday, June 18 2012 at 18:45
Ghana’s President John Atta Mills has condemned rumours of his death doing the rounds in the country.
The rumours, which claimed he was in a coma, were ignited after the President scheduled a trip to the US where he was to undergo a medical check-up.
Just before his departure on June 16, President Mills called a press conference at Accra’s international airport to quash the rumours, adding that he would be back home “after a few days”.
Until then, phone-ins and social media sites had been humming people seeking to verify the rumours, especially as the President had been out of the public limelight for more than a week.
Even after emerging to confirm he was alive, some cynics still wanted to believe the worst.
“There is no smoke without fire. There definitely was something wrong with him,” pronounced Mr Kwame Manu, an Accra school teacher.
The fact that he the President was going for a medical check-up seemed to back up those who were saying he had fallen sick.
Others wanted to pick a quarrel with the fact that President Mills had chosen to go for his check-up abroad, which they felt meant he had no faith in Ghana’s own health system.
It is not the first time speculation on President Mills’ health had been flying about.
In 2008, just before the election that brought him to power, he was declared 'dead' and some newspapers even carried the story. It turned out that he had travelled to South Africa for a sinus operation.
The latest rumours were sparked after communal clashes were reported in parts of the country and the Presidency uncharacteristically kept mum.
Initially, a spokesman had responded that President Mills wanted the relevant state institutions to confront the problem. This did not go down well even with Vice-President John Mahama, who represented the President at Hohoe, a town in the Volta Region where the latest communal clash had occurred.
Predictably, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), through secretary-general Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, has fingered the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to the source of the rumour.
“The NPP orchestrated this diabolic rumour and we all know this. Their people phoned into radio stations to spread the rumour,” he asserted.
That was notwithstanding the fact that the leader of the NPP, Mr Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, issued a statement wishing the President quick recovery and good health.
The NPP statement hoped that “the [medical] check-ups go well and that President Mills comes back fit and strong to continue his duties as president.”
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