The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has pledged to continue to pursue the peaceful legacy of the late President John Evans Atta Mills to create a more united and stable country.
He, has therefore, called for the collaboration of all political leaders, especially former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor as well as the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo Addo, in pursuing the course of peace and stability.
President Mahama made the pledge Wednesday when former President Kufuor led a delegation of the NPP to call on him at the Castle, Osu, to commiserate with him on the passing away of former President Mills and to congratulate him on his assumption of office.
The delegation included the former Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the NPP flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, and a former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani.
President Mahama had earlier led ministers and deputy ministers of state to the Regimanuel private residence of the late President to commiserate with the former First Lady, Naadu Mills. They signed the book of condolence.
He later went to the Banquet Hall of the State House to sign another book of condolence for the late President.
The NPP delegation had earlier gone to the Regimanuel private residence of the late President to commiserate with the former First Lady and sign the book of condolence.
President Mahama thanked the NPP delegation for coming to commiserate with the government on the passing away of the former President by first going to the Regimanuel private residence of the late President and then to the Castle.
He again thanked Nana Akufo-Addo for suspending his campaign to mourn with the government and also going to see the former First Lady.
He said the gesture should be the first step towards getting the country “to stand together for Ghana to continue to be the beacon of hope in Africa.”
The President described the death of the late President as “a great loss and totally unacceptable” and that he and government officials were in a shock.
He said he was assigned by the late President to represent him at the launch of the Brand Ghana Programme, and indicated that he was there with the Chief of Staff, Mr Henry Martey Newman.
President Mahama said when they returned to the Castle after the programme and retired to their respective offices, they received a call that the former President was ill at his Regimanuel residence.
He said the late President was rushed to the 37 Military Hospital where seven doctors tried to resuscitate him but he finally passed on at 2:15 pm.
The President said government officials believed that the late President was going to serve his full term and possibly serve another term and retire to join the league of former Presidents, but unfortunately he could not finish his first term.
Sounding rather philosophical, he said at times adversities created opportunities, and said maybe God in His own wisdom took away former President Mills to create a more peaceful and uniting political space.
He expressed worry that the country’s politics had descended into personality attacks, insults and unnecessary tension.
Therefore, he said, Ghanaians were required to let the peaceful nature of the late President to impress on them to begin a more decent politicking in the country.
On the funeral, the President said the family would decide on the date, and indicated that the Chief of Staff would be in touch with the family and announce the arrangement to the public.
Already, he said, he had received calls from several Presidents expressing their willingness to attend the funeral of President Mills.
Meanwhile, he said, an aide to President Barack Obama of the United States of America (USA), President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and the Secretary of State of USA, Mrs Hillary Clinton, had called him to express their condolences.
Former President Kufuor said the passing away of former President Mills left him and other members of the NPP in such a shock that they had not recovered from the news.
Therefore, he said, the delegation was at the Castle first to congratulate President Mahama on his ascension to the high office of the President and second to commiserate with him on the demise of the former President.
He said the NPP would be collaborating with the government to give the late President a befitting burial, saying, “that is how it should be”.
He said death was so mysterious that it even brought adversaries together, and stressed that the NDC and NPP were not adversaries but rather political opponents.
Former President Kufuor said the late President had “played his part to the hills”, and died with honours as a serving President.
He said only a few people had the opportunity of occupying the high office of the President.
Former President Kufuor said President Mahama had found himself in the hot seat of the President because the business of the government must go on.
Fortunately, he said, President Mahama had served as a Vice-President before assuming the position of the President.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that President Mahama “will not forget the demands of the high office of the President to the people of Ghana.”
He asked President Mahama to manage the affairs of the country in a non-partisan way to erase the negative aspects of politics and expouse the positive sides.
That, the former President said, would enable the country to come out of the election with flying colours and continue to be the beacon of democracy in Africa.
Mr Martey Newman stressed that adversities had a way of bringing people together.
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