This society has had a problem or two with the idea of catering for the well-being of leaders whose tenure of office had passed, obviously, because we ended their reign of governments pre-maturely.
We overthrew the two early leaders with the butt of the gun, and chased them into exile. But, when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia died in very uncharitable circumstances abroad, we brought their corpses down for what was described as appropriate burials for the rivals, who set the tone for self-government.
Trust Ghanaians to worship the dead. We organised lavish ceremonies to bid them farewell, perhaps to make their departure look good. When the state provided a house for the spouse and children of ex-President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the same state, directed this time by those who had put their faith in the gun rather than the ballot box as a source of power, seized the house.
For a considerable length of time, Madam Fathia Nkrumah and her three children had no direct link with the birthplace of the man who led this nation to independence.
It took a regime, drawing its strength from the will of the people, to return the Cantonments house to the wife and three children of the first political head of independent Ghana.
In the case of Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, the house he constructed before becoming Prime Minister of Ghana was seized from the family, and handed over to commandoes. Like the house the state built for the family of the first President of Ghana, Busia’s children, and their now deceased mother, gained access to the house built by their father, only after the military adventurers had themselves been sent packing.
When President Hilla Limann, head of state of the Third Republic was overthrown, he and his family were treated as though they were criminals. The state completely lost interest in their welfare.
At a point in time, the vehicle belonging to the former President broke down at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, and had to be pushed aside to allow the traffic to flow.
It was common knowledge that his wife was taking care of every aspect of the former President’s life, from her tie and dye business. Since the death of Dr. Limann, more than a decade ago, the state of Ghana has shown no interest in matters pertaining to the bereaved family.
In place of state support, ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor has become the punching bag for the NDC-supported media. As our story on the front page indicates, the former President has not received his ex-gratia yet. He has to pay his office staff from his own resources, and has no office from where to operate.
Indications are that former President Jerry John Rawlings is not the happiest of Ghanaians at the moment. He is said to be commuting from his base at Tefle in the Volta Region to Accra to conduct official business, since his residence was engulfed in flames.
He has nowhere to lay his head in the national capital. Though we reject the notion that it was the failure of the state to accommodate the family that has resulted in the temporary separation from his wife, the state has a duty to properly accommodate the former President.
It is on record that even when her husband was in residence at Government House, Mrs. Konadu Agyeman Rawlings was on her own at Ridge.
That is why we reject the notion of separation induced by the fire outbreak at their Ridge Residence.
The Chronicle does not believe it is the best means of creating a ‘Better Ghana’ when past leaders are abandoned to their fates.