Just a few days after having a heated debate on disclosing the health status of presidential candidates before elections, news burst out about Hillary Clinton and her pneumonia diagnosis. The issue has been a topic on media circles this whole week, and it is refusing to be a nontrivial matter as election is fast approaching.
In our argument at the debate, my team raised points about the need for transparency on health issues of candidates, the health requirements of a political leader as stated in the Constitution, the longevity of tenure of office of leaders, the need to have strong and sound leaders for better governance, among others.
We cited leaders such as H. E. John Atta Mills and Nelson Mandela, both of blessed memory, as examples. Both were very good leaders who ruled the affairs of their nations well. What they had in common was how weak and unhealthy they were as leaders; mostly being sent to the hospital to receive medical attention. This indirectly affected their response to governance as a whole. What I am driving to the table is that they could have done a better job if they were much healthier.
Ghana was in total shock after the death of Atta Mills who died while serving as president making him unable to finish his tenure of office. This brought the nation to a sudden halt and chaos. A mighty tree had fallen and had left the nation in grief. A lot of issues come into play after such sudden unannounced matters arise. All too soon, such a leader who was firm, visionary, and full of positive ideas, had left the nation confused. What was the guarantee that his Vice who was to be sworn in as the next President was competent enough to take over? However, he was sworn in anyway, and the dire consequences of such occurrences are countless. Aside that, the citizens are denied the opportunity to decide if the really want this “new” to rule them or not.
In the same way, Nelson Mandela made waves as a leader. But truth be told, he was not fit enough to run around and monitor accountability very well due to old age and its related health issues. Well, we still cannot overlook his many accomplishments within the short period he reigned. Come to think of it, who is totally fit anyway? We all are “sick” one way or the other. Our only concern is for presidential candidates to be well screened in order for serious health problems to be identified earlier for treatment. This will also allow for voters to be aware of who they are choosing as a leader, and not to be taken aback by future surprises.
Hillary Clinton has by far come as the favorite of majority of Americans through polls which have been undertaken so far. The totality of her unique capabilities has won her many admirers and followers. The incident that happened on stage leading to the further announcement of her illness came as a blow. Surprisingly, her following has not changed significantly but this may go against her if matters are not handled properly and quickly. So here is the case where the health issue of a presidential candidate can go a long way of churning out votes for the other opponent, as may be the case of America, if care is not taken.
In view of this, we cannot overlook the need for a good health condition of someone who is aspiring to lead a nation. Such people must be proven to be intellectually, morally, and emotionally sound. In cases where there is a reason to doubt their health status, voters will have to decide whether they still would have them as leaders or not. They cannot be forced down on us by not disclosing their deadly health problems, and ending up using state resources to treat such ailments. That will be a deception on the part of the whole political party and the electoral commission in the sense of it.