KUFUOR SUFFERING IN SILENCE

By Emmanuel Akli

Ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor

Information reaching The Chronicle from credible sources close to Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor’s office, indicate that the former head of state is not happy about the way he is being treated by the government.

But like the ‘Gentle Giant’ that his followers have come to associate with him, the immediate past head of state has decided not to make any public comments over the issue.

The Chronicle gathered that though the government had been in touch with the former president about his resettlement package, President John Evans Atta-Mills and his administration have failed to walk their talk.

A usually reliable source, who spoke to this reporter, said the former president was shown a two-bedroom bungalow to be used as his office, but to date, no renovation work has been done on the building to put it in proper condition for use.

Mr. Kufuor, at the moment, receives guests at his private residence at the Airport Residential Area in Accra, which also doubles as his office.

The former President, who conducted his successor round the presidential complex at the Golden Jubilee House, before peacefully handing over power on January 7, 2009, was also said to be using his private cars without any state intervention. Vehicles he took along, when he was leaving office were later retrieved from him by the National Security.

Though staff working with the former president should be paid by the state, in accordance with the settlement of retired heads of state, Mr. Kufuor is said to be footing the bills every month himself.

The inaction of the government is said to have put the former president under severe financial stress, but he has decided to keep it cool.

The Chinery Hesse report, which recommended a resettlement package for the former president, became the subject of public debates.
The government of Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills responded to ugly noises, mainly from activists of his ruling National democratic Congress, by appointing Mr. Ishmael Yamson, former Chief Executive of Unilever, to review the Chinery Hesse report.

Even though that report had been submitted to the President long ago, entitlements due Mr. Kufuor are still not available.

The former president, who is currently outside the country, is not happy with the development, but has resorted to a silent protest instead of going public with his grievances.

Yesterday, this paper carried a report in which Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, a vice chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), severely criticised President Mills for failing to provide accommodation for the founder of the party and former head of state, Mr. Jerry John Rawlings.

Mr. Rawlings’ residence at Ridge, a plush residential area in Accra, was gutted by fire on February 14 this year.

The decision prompted the NDC national executives to issue a statement condemning the conduct of their first vice chairman.

“The Functional Executive Committee (FEC) wishes to state that Dr. Spio-Gabrah was appointed Chairman of a  three-member committee, set up to resolve the former first couple’s accommodation problem. Unfortunately, Dr. Spio-Gabrah left Ghana for his UK base without calling a meeting of the committee. Indeed, he is yet to call a meeting of that committee,” the statement noted.

The source, which spoke to The Chronicle from former president Kufuor’s office, argued that priority attention must be given to the resettlement of the immediate past president, as the NDC government was doing to the founder of the party, former president Rawlings.

Though not under any obligation, Madam Theresa Kufuor is said to have taken it upon herself to cook for all the security men posted to the house every day, yet the state has been silent on the resettlement package of her husband.

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