I have been following the recent media uproar about the President of the Republic of Ghana getting rid of petty traders around his private residence with keen interest.
I have argued that if National Security has now seen that President Akufo- Addo’s residence is unsafe, then so be it. The President of the Republic of Ghana deserves to be protected. If National Security believes that the so-called squatters should be removed, then so be it. The interest of the state is paramount.
My beef has been the manner in which this process is carried out. The President has been with these people all these years and indeed knows some of them by name. I am of the view that relocation is not just moving people but ensuring they get a new place to make their daily bread. There exist best practices in dealing with such situations. I recall when construction work was being done on the Tetteh Quarshie-Mallam Highway (N1), the kane and rattan workers along the corridor were removed but with human face. We were told that a new place at Ayei Mensah was bought and facilities put up to allow them to continue with their trade. Adverts, signages were also done to allow people to locate them at their new place of business. These are best practices.
There are ways to assess how much income is derived from the work they do and calculate it in a way that affords them a new beginning. Have these things been done? Has the social welfare been made part of this process? These are the world best practices.
We have an official statement from the Minister of Information which states that the President is using his personal resources to compensate the squatters to relocate….paying sums ranging from GHC3,000-GHC10,000.
My question is WHY should the President of the Republic, who is taken care of by the STATE, pay the squatters with his own money when indeed it is the responsibility of the STATE to do that. National security has raised concerns about the safety of the number one Civil Servant of the Republic of Ghana. We agree that the President should be protected during his tenure and post tenure. The National Security has led a process during the past 5 months; have they been sleeping from January 2017 to October 2017) to have the “security threat” where people should be relocated for the President to pay them from his POCKET?
How on earth does this happen? If, the President is doing his private dealings then why should the State security apparatus be involved? If the STATE is carrying out its duties of protecting the President, then why should the President have to pay personally? This just does not make any rational sense. I think many of the leaders in the present NPP government are NOT thinking and therefore exposing the President to public ridicule.
This reckless statement is now begging for certain questions, what is the total cost of the relocation exercise? How were the people paid? From which account were they paid out of? Did the President sign each cheque to the people or was it cash? Who delivered the money? If he is paying with his personal monies, how does the Minister of Information and the Minister of State in Charge of National Security become involved in the personal affairs of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a private person, doing private business?
So I ask, is the President supposed to pay these huge sums of money from his pocket? Where are all these monies coming from? The President is now being taken care of by the STATE. Is there any credence to earlier statements made by NPP Deputy General Secretary? Statement about 50 billion Ghana Cedis allegedly being released from the Flagstaff House to do NPP political activities. Does it have any merit? Does, the famous audio about Government funding NPP activities have any validity? He had stated that he “lied” to extract information from NDC. It is very difficult for some of us to believe based on the track record of the person who said it. He has huge credibility and we are of the view that to keep his position, he had to say something.
I also recall during the NPPs gathering in Kumasi, December 2017, the President of the Republic of Ghana stated to my utter shock, that he has prepared something for the delegates for them to have a “modest Christmas”. The President doling out monies to party functionaries to have a modest Christmas? I said then as I say now, Mr President, NPP brought you to power but remember, you are President for ALL. As you doled our money for a – section of Ghanaians to have a modest Christmas, you disappointed a vast majority of us who have not felt your leadership where it counts the most, in our pockets.
It seems the Modest Christmas Man has struck again, he has so much money now that he’s sharing it to people as if were confetti. Activities of National Security are now being funded from the unlimited coffers of the private citizen, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the man who makes it rain money for people to have “modest Christmas.”
God save Ghana!!!!
Article: Nana OFORI OWUSU
Director of Operations of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP