|Rawlings speaks on Mills death|
|Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00|
In comments to the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme while attending an event in Congo, Rawlings said Mills’ death on Tuesday “was not unexpected” and suggested the late president may have lived longer had he focused on treatment.
He said Mills had been battling cancer for “quite a while.”
The interview has drawn attention back home in Ghana, both from those who say Rawlings, who maintains wide influence in the West African nation, was disrespectful and others who argue he was simply being truthful.
No official cause has been given for Mills' death, though there have been unconfirmed reports in local media saying he suffered from throat cancer.
“Quite frankly, I think had he been advised and done something wiser earlier on, he could probably have survived for another six, seven months, I guess,” Rawlings said in the interview.
The two men have been rivals recently despite Mills previously serving as Rawlings’ vice president. Asked about Mills’ legacy, Rawlings said that “he’s played his part.”
“As my vice president, I think he was one of the finest . . . ,” Rawlings said.
He added later, referring to Mills’ recent performance, “considering that the cancer affected both his eye and his ear, he couldn’t sustain more than three hours per day.”
Rawlings was Ghana’s longest ruler who seized power in successive coups, in 1979 and 1981, before serving as the elected president from 1993-2001. — AFP.