A Ga-Dangme group has served notice to embark on a series protests to get former President John Mahama to vacate his official residence at Cantonments in Accra, which he has requested to keep as a part of his retirement package.
The group described as “immoral”, President Mahama’s request to keep the bungalow, especially so when the former president had years back condemned similar acts and banned public office holders from even buying state bungalows they occupy as government officials.
President Mahama before exiting office Saturday, wrote though his Chief of Staff on December 19, 2016 to request to “have Bungalow No.3, Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra and its adjoining facilities as his official retirement home.”
The residence, originally a property of COCOBOD, was being used by the late vice president, Aliu Mahama and later by President Mahama when he became vice president.
He, however, maintained the residence even after becoming the president of Ghana.
Reports surfaced after the investiture of President Akufo-Addo and his vice saturday that Dr Bawumia was stranded because President Mahama has declined to vacate the residence he officially occupied during his presidency. But the claim has since been denied by the office of the former president.
However, the group, Ga Dangme Forward Movement said in a statement signed by Emmanuel Adjei Boye, Boye Laryea and Nii Obadzen: “We are therefore confounded if this request is really coming from the Former 1st Gentleman of the Land,”
They argue the latest trend in providing former presidents lands or properties acquired for public use, which eventually turn to private use, heightens what it said is the already tension amongst the Gas in the sale and disposal of public lands acquired for public benefits.
It has thus fixed Friday, January 13, 2017 to peacefully march residence in question , Bungalow No. 3 located at Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra.
The protests, they said is to prevent any possible acceptance of the request by President Mahama to maintain the said bungalow as a part of his retirement package.
“In fact, we intend this action to be our modest contribution to the campaign to clean Ghana of the dirty “continent-wide syndrome of seize-loot-and-leave” (John Dramani Mahama, November, 2013)”
This specific reasons for our intended action are as follows:
We are against the former President’s application of his own rule in different ways. If in November 15, 2013, he saw it proper and in the nation’s best interest to issue a directive abolishing the purchase of state bungalows by government office holders, he must think he is above that abolition, much less think he can have a state bungalow for free as his retirement benefit.
There is a law in the Ghana Transition Act which does not allow an out-going President to ask for the use of his official residence as his permanent home when he retires.
We have good reasons to believe that former President John Dramani Mahama knows about this Act and that he intends to breach it to bring about a confrontation between his followers and the present administration. This we see not only as a callous but also ass a recipe for chaos in the country which must need be averted.
As Gamei (Gas), we see a consent of government to the former President’s demand as a fall of the first domino which will knock down other dominoes to the detriment of the stability and growth of the Ga nation whichis already under serious threat.
If government yields to the said demands, then government will have to acquire another piece of Ga land for the construction of another bungalow for the incumbent upon his retirement; then another acquisition of another Ga land for yet another bungalow for a retiring president. And so will this vicious cycle continue till only God knows when?
This cannot be acceptable to any right-thinking Ga and therefore must be stopped now. A solution with a human face must be found to this retirement homes for presidents.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana