The National Security apparatus yesterday made good its promise to strip former President John Agyekum Kufuor of all state property when operatives of the Castle took possession of the remaining three State vehicles in his custody.
The Monday morning exercise marked the second time National Security operatives were setting foot on the Airport residence of the former Commander-In-Chief with the mission of retrieving State cars. They arrived in a Chrysler car at 11.00am.
The vehicles driven away by the operatives were Ford Expedition Transporters 4×4, an action which now leaves the former President with no State vehicle.
In his comment on the development, Frank Agyekum, Spokesperson for Mr. Kufuor, stated that although no reasons were adduced for the retrieval, he thought it has to do with an earlier correspondence between the two offices on the subject.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“No special reasons were given except to say that the state was coming to take them up. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something that has been known for sometime now,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said shortly after the action.
According to him, the retrieval was done on the morning of yesterday by State security officials in the former PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s yard.
He said that no reasons were given for the action, pointing out that Ã¢â‚¬Å“official communication from the Presidency concerning the retrieval was received last week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was no offer at all. It was very straight, direct to the point that we were going to come retrieve them and that was what was done. There was no offer to replace them,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Agyekum said.
However, he indicated that the retrievals were done without any resistance. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have just come and they have taken them away. That is it.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see the point in contacting State Protocol or State Security on this issue.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So far, six vehicles in former President KufuorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possession have been taken away by National Security operatives, the first batch being the three BMWs, which matter attracted public opprobrium when it hit the media landscape.
When notice of the retrieval of the three BMWs and their subsequent replacement by an equal number of Chryslers was served the office of the former President, the offer was rejected.
At the time, Head of Protocol at the Presidency, Victor Smith, who also runs a pro-NDC newspaper, The Weekly Standard, explained that a decision would be taken subsequently as to the type of replacement to be given the former President befitting his status.
The three BMWs, he further explained, had certain security features, making them ideal for the operation of the security detail of the President, adding that their continued stay in the former PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s household was depriving the incumbent Head of State of a critical security appendage.
Many Ghanaians have expressed surprise at the turn of events, with some wondering whether the immediate past Head of State, former President Kufuor, is not entitled to such benefits as a few State cars as being enjoyed by ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.
When he left office, ex-President RawlingsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ request to go home with a certain number of cars among other things was acquiesced to by theÃ‚Â government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
This latest deprivation of former President Kufuor of state vehicles appears to be following recent trends in which when ex-President Rawlings yells about non-performance on the part of the incumbent administration, President Mills takes a certain controversial action.
Following his maiden public outburst against President Mills for not taking action against officials appointed by the erstwhile Kufuor government, Patrick Acheampong, and Lt Gen J.B. Danquah, former IGP and Chief of Defence Staff respectively, were shown the exit.
District Chiefs Executives who were asked to stay in office until further notice, had to leave unceremoniously after Mr. Rawlings scowled at President Mills.
While fielding media questions last week shortly after attending an NDC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, Mr. Rawlings passed a no-confidence vote on President Mills, describing some of his appointments as mediocre- the fallout of which is being considered by political observers as this action on former President Kufuor.
By A.R. Gomda