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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mills Moves To Jubilee House


President John Evans Atta Mills yesterday commenced presidential operations at the Jubilee House when he received the letters of credence of some accredited diplomats to the country.

The reception, the first official engagement by President Mills since he became president, appears to have flagged the all-clear signal for the use of the facility for presidential functions and an inching by the presidency towards an eventual occupation of the presidential villa.

The non-use of the facility, against the backdrop of President Mills’ campaign season remark that he would find it challenging to occupy such an edifice at a time when the average Ghanaian is hungry, appears to have fuelled the curiosity of many a Ghanaian.

Cynics have questioned whether the President’s decision to use the facility now was informed by a change in the status of the average Ghanaian, whose standards of living has further plummeted since he took over the reigns of power.

The announced movement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Jubilee House elicited mixed reactions from a cross-section of Ghanaians.

While some Ghanaians thought it unwise since the presidency should be used for the purpose for which it was put up, others, especially belonging to the ruling NDC, think otherwise.

The announced movement of the Foreign Affairs Ministry prompted some Ghanaians to ask whether the action is going to be a permanent one or not and whether the presidency and the ministry can share the place.

In his reaction, Mahama Ayariga, Presidential Spokesperson, stated the facility is big enough to contain both the presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said, “The use of that wing at the place does not disturb the future decision to use that facility. In fact, the edifice is so huge that the ministry can operate from there even whilst the president is there. The fact that the minister being there does not in any way preclude the president moving in there as and when he deems it fit.”

Signs of the presidency’s gradual change of mind about the status of Jubilee House came when a presidential delegation visited the place and announced a demand for additional funding to complete the project.

They indicated that there was, for instance, the need to put up a security quarters to cater for the accommodation need of security personnel.

As for the National Security Adviser, Brig Nunoo-Mensah (rtd), Jubilee House comes nowhere near the Castle in terms of offering adequate security for the President.

According to him, it is untoward to have the President being spotted by persons driving past Jubilee House as he sits in his house working.

The Jubilee House was put up with Indian government loan under soft terms. At the time that the project was being undertaken, it came under flak as a misplaced priority by the NDC’s flag bearer.

His handlers promised Ghanaians that when he comes to power, he would use the facility as a hospital or poultry farm, pledges which have turned out to be the usual campaign trail talk.

The President repeated his tantrums during his hundred-day press conference when he said his spirit cannot live at the Jubilee House because of suffering by Ghanaians.
He described it as a misplaced priority.

But just before the dust would settle, he has taken position receiving high level diplomats at the edifice described by presidential press corps as ‘wonderful edifice’.

By A.R. Gomda

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