Ghanaās President John Evans Atta Mills personally announced Saturday night that he was flying out of the country for a āmedical check-upā and to sit down with his doctors in the United States to ātalk about thingsā.
The exact ailment for which the president was travelling to America remained unknown just as the unexplained āthingsā he would be talking about with his doctors.
The personal announcement by the president was made at a hurriedly organized press conference at the departure lounge of the Kotoka International Airport a few minutes before he left the country, as the rumour mill was awash with all manners of speculations, especially since the president had not been seen in public for a while.
āWhat I have decided to do is to go for medical check-up. So Iām going for a few days and then come back. Iām able to sit down with the doctors and talk about things. Of course, there are all kinds of certain things which I believe I can strengthen myself for,ā President Mills told journalists at the airport on Saturday night.
This is the sixth time that the president is travelling to the United States in the last six months.
The press conference on Saturday night was apparently necessitated by widely spread speculations of the presidentās death, with persons from all over the world calling their contacts in Ghana to verify the report.
Indeed, the president had not been seen in public for some time now and government had also not explained his whereabouts though there were growing concerns from the public over his sudden ādisappearanceā.
President Mills, at the conference, actually spread his arms open like a soaring eagle and asked journalists present to tell whether or not he was dead and whether a dead man could actually talk.
āI heard about this [death] sometime ago and I said what is happening. Indeed, this is not the first time that I have heard people say this about me. Let me just say that Iām very, very strong and I donāt know the basis for saying that I am dead.
āWell, let me just say that under our Constitution, the President has a duty to inform Parliament whenever he is going outside the country. Sometimes it is not even necessary to give you the details.
āWhat I have decided to do is to go for medical check-up. So Iām going for a few days and then come back. Iām able to sit down with the doctors and talk about things. Of course, there are all kinds of certain things which I believe I can strengthen myself for.
āLet me tell you [in] six months we are going to work very, very, very, very, very, very hard. I remember the last time when I came back from the G8, he [Vice President John Mahama] had been in Sunyani and when I spoke to him he wasnāt well at all, he wasnāt well at all and when I came back from G8 as far as Iām concerned this is nothing I will say calls for something by all Ghanaians. Iām only going there to make sure that yes we look at this and that that thatā¦ and come back to continue the work that Iām going to do.
āYou look at me as a person, are you seeing the person who has died?ā Atta Mills asked rhetorically.
Nanaās Well Wishes
Meanwhile, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has wished the president well in his journey to see to his health demands.
A statement from his office wished the President well and āa safe return to duty in a few daysā.
Nana Akufo-Addo, in a press statement released Sunday, said he had ālearnt last night [Saturday] from President Atta Mills that he was on his way to the United States to see doctors for medical treatment.ā
Nana Addo expressed the hope that āthe checks go well and he comes back fit and strong,ā to continue his duties as the president of the country.
It was not yet certain what ailment had dragged the president out of the country for medical attention when the very government he leads had constantly bragged that Ghana currently has medical facilities and personnel that can be compared to the best ones in any part of the world.
In the recent past, people had described the president variously, with some calling him a āsleeping presidentā.
With conflicts and flashpoints all over the country, political observers expected him to at least make a public statement on the raging fire in Hohoe in the Volta Region where over 6000 people had internally been displaced, seeking refuge in nearby communities.
President Mills was last seen in public when the Nigerian registered Allied Cargo Airline Boeing 727-200 aircraft crashed at the El-Wak Stadium on Sunday, June 3, 2012 where 10 people were killed.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said President Mills was perhaps in a deep slumber, snoring while scores of Ghanaians were being killed across the country.
But with announcement from the president that he needed to see his doctors in the United States of America, it would put to rest speculations about his whereabouts.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo