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Monday, July 12, 2010

Mills gives Kufuor 2-room house

Former president Kufuor
Former president Kufuor
After a rancorous and highly-publicised ejection from a state facility which he intended using as his post-retirement office, ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor has been offered a two-bedroom bungalow at the Cantonments suburb of Accra.

Ex-President Kufuor dropped the hint during an interview with an Accra-based private radio station, Citi FM, while he was in South Africa as guest of honour for the 14th Africa Highway Conference in Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

It is not known whether he has accepted the offer which he described as a two-bedroom facility located in the high-notched residential area of Cantonments.

However, Mr. Kufuor’s spokesperson, Frank Agyekum, said the facility could only be used for office accommodation, saying that they were still in consultation with the government to finalize issues.

“As it is now, it remains a residential accommodation. It needs to be turned into a proper office accommodation, so there have to be renovation taking place in there. But yes a place has been offered, the President has seen it…and he thinks it is quite ok for him,” Frank Agyekum told Joy FM. Mr. Kufuor’s other entitlements have not been attended to by the Mills administration.

According to Mr Agyekum, aside the office accommodation being prepared for the former president, “all other issues are still outstanding”.

This development, coming on the heels of the contestable claim by ex-First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings that she and her husband have not been offered an alternative shelter since fire razed their Ridge house, alongside the failure of the state to provide former President Kufuor with a constitutionally-mandated house and office, is set to provoke a long-drawn agenda in the coming days.

The issue of accommodation for ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, when it hit the public domain in the past few days, prompted questions about why his successor too is not attracting a similar attention.

The offer of an office for former President Kufuor has been described as a means of placating those who consider the denial of the non-fulfillment of his constitutional post-retirement benefits as double standards and smacking of mischievous politics.

Now that an office accommodation has been made available to the former President, the other constitutional entitlements for him, such as residential accommodation among others, remain outstanding.

When he bowed out of office at the end of his term, former President Kufuor made the headlines after his possession of an office at Osu was stymied. National Security Coordinator Larry Gbevlo-Lartey ordered the ejection, giving the reason that the location was a “national security safe house”.

A group of so-called Osu youth also joined the fray, charging that hell would break loose if the former President did not leave the facility, which he eventually left anyway.

Vehicles at his disposal were withdrawn in a daylight operation, drawing open condemnation from political observers and New Patriotic Party (NPP) sympathizers.Some of the vehicles, according to government minders, were fitted with sophisticated security gadgets whose use by non-state players could jeopardize national security.

Replacements for the withdrawn vehicles are yet to be fulfilled, as pledged at the time.

During the exclusive interview, he took exception to what he described as the spate of political intolerance between the government and the opposition in the country.Former President Kufuor added his voice to his successor’s call for cessation to the spree of insults in the country.

According to him, such foul language “is totally unacceptable” and called for a ceasefire to the development to ensure “the growth of a united country”.

He said “though I subscribe to multiparty opposition in our country, I equally think all inclusive governance is the best practice for governing Ghana today.”

Turning to the subject of the tenure of presidents, he said the four-year mandate was inadequate, preferring a five-year span.
By such a constitutional amendment, according to him, subsequent governments will be able to accomplish their development agenda if “given two consecutive terms to rule.”

His first three years in office, he recalled, were used to rehabilitate the fragile economy he inherited from his predecessor.

The South African engagement held at the Pumba Lodge in Grahamstown is the largest assemblage of media persons, during which issues about the progress of the journalism are deliberated upon. He has since returned home.

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana

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