General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
The Director of Elections for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, has said ex-president John Dramani Mahama was “generous” to Ghanaians for requesting to keep his official bungalow when he ended his term as president.
According to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, the government exhibited bad faith and embarrassed the former president with regards to the house. In his view, such embarrassments were partly why African leaders preferred to hang on to power even after their terms have ended.
“I thought that the president was even more generous to Ghanaians to say that: ‘This is the small place that I’ve lived all my life, at least for the past eight years or thereabouts, I think that my family and I will be comfortable here.’ He was not asking that the place be given to him as part of his retirement benefit or he wanted to buy as some people wanted to create the impression because it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that we house the president upon [leaving office],” he said on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Monday January 23.
“I believe that there was exhibition of bad faith on the part of the government and it was very embarrassing and I asked myself that sometimes this is the more reason why some African heads of state, even when their terms expire to leave office, because of some of these humiliation and embarrassments and others, sometimes they feel that ‘let us still find a way of hanging onto power and staying’. But President Mahama didn’t do that and I expected that he ought to have been treated in a more respectable way than the way he was treated.”
According to him, Mr Mahama took the right decision by withdrawing his earlier request to keep the house because the brouhaha that surrounded his request was embarrassing. “It is very embarrassing to us as a country because the way it was reported on social media and the kinds of things that were said, I think he took the right decision by withdrawing that request because I believe that President Mahama, knowing who he is, anywhere that he gets, I think he will be fine.”
It is recalled that Mr Mahama requested to keep his official bungalow during his tenure as president, and earlier as vice president, at No. 3. Prestige Link, Cantonments as his ex-gratia, but following a public backlash in connection with his request, as well as a denial by the new government of there being an agreement between the two administrations for him to keep the house as his home, he wrote to President Nana Akufo-Addo to withdraw his interest.