Yesterday, an Accra private newspaper published the news that the Head of State of the Republic of Ghana has a new property springing up at a location immediately behind his Regimanuel Gray Estates, off Spintex Road in Accra.
Since the publication, government officials have gone into overdrive, creating the impression that what the newspaper described as a mansion was actually a small building intended to make the security detail in the house a bit comfortable.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who was on an Accra private television station yesterday, said he would be surprised if it turned out that the President of the Republic was either expanding his property or adding to it.
It did not take long for the cat to be out of the bag. Deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa was on the phone telling the people of Ghana that indeed, a building is springing up on a piece of land behind the President�s private residence. And that it was meant to accommodate security personnel to the President�s residence.
Mr. Koku Anyidoho, Press Secretary to the President, also spoke to a private radio station in Accra about the new property. He told listeners that the newspaper in question was being mischievous.
His explanation was that the building in question was being put up by the estate developers as a gift to the Head of State, so that his security detail could have access to basic amenities like a place of convenience, a kitchen, and somewhere to rest their limbs.
The Chronicle is nonplussed about the size or architectural design of the property in question. Under normal circumstances, the President of the Republic putting up a building should not lose sleep for the people of this country. After all, some key ministers of President John Evans Atta Mills and some of his aides have been very active in the property market.
Evidence is available that after leading the Committee for Joint Action to harass the previous administration for clinging to the idea of a property-owning democracy, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo has put up a huge building at Baastona in Accra, where all the rooms are fully air-conditioned.
The Central Regional Minister, Ama Benyiwa-Doe, has transformed her father�s house at Agona Swedru, in addition to a few others she owns.
Some presidential aides were said to have gone into the property market barely six months into this administration. So the President making an extension to his property should not make anybody lose sleep.
But this is no ordinary head of state. This is the occupant of the slave Castle, and sold to Ghanaians as the very embodiment of the Almighty on earth. He does not accept his per diem when he travels abroad, and does not take allowances for creating a �Better Ghana� in the ashes of decay all around us.
For a company to decide to put up a property as a gift to this President sounds interesting in the ears of many nationals. Then again, was the behaviour of his own men and women when a farmer was said to have paid for the cost of installing security gadgets at the gate leading to the residence of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, when he won power and assumed the leadership of this nation in 2001.
In those days, it was sacrilegious for an individual to opt to pay for the provision of security in the then President�s home, at a cost of about GH�4,100 (�41 million in the old currency). Hell virtually broke loose, as leading members in the then opposition, a number of them currently holding state portfolios, competed among themselves to condemn the former President and his good Samaritan.
If the President�s men are now beginning to realise that owning a property is not such a grievous offence, then they should apologise to the people of Ghana for haranguing the previous administration, and let us get on with our lives.
Source: The Chronicle (editorial)
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