Week at a Glance:Takeovers, bungalow brouhaha and ministerial appointments

History was made when on Saturday, January 7, 2017, a man, who for the very first time caused the defeat of a sitting president in general elections in the country was sworn into office as president. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his running mate Dr Mahamadu Bawumia both took their oaths in front of millions of Ghanaians and heads of state from across Africa and the world.

President Akufo Addo sworn in

President Akufo-Addo earned applause for delivering  a fantastic inaugural speech. But the applause later turned into criticism. Aspects of the speech plagiarized  previous speeches by former President of the United States, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.



His Director of Communications almost immediately sent out a press release apologizing for the gaffe, describing it as a “complete oversight and never deliberate.”

Eugene Arhin appointed

Director of Communication, Eugene Arhin

They were not forgiven. Ghanaians took to social media to register their disgust at the development on Sunday.

However, news about former president John Mahama requesting to keep his official residence as a retirement package was damning enough to put a lid on the issue. According to a statement released by  former communication minister Omane Boamah, an agreement had been reached between the former president and the Akufo-Addo-led administration.

Again social media went buzzing and while supporters of the NDC defended and justified why the former president should have the bungalow – which was to house vice presidents and had been used three consecutive times for that purpose – loyalists of the NPP disagreed.

On Monday, spokesperson for the NPP side of the transition team, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah denied that any agreement had been reached.

In an interview on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, he said as far as the new government was concerned, former president Mahama had only made a request to keep the house but a decision was yet to be arrived at.

Member of Parliament for Suame, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu that same morning also disclosed that although Parliament had agreed to pay the former president a rent allowance monthly, he made a request for him to be allowed to retain his official residence permanently.

But Kyei Mensah Bonsu said that it was rather appropriate for the former president to pack out of the house and put in a fresh request before parliament.

Accommodation issues aside, supporters of the NPP continued to cause havoc in parts of the country. It was reported that some of them besieged the offices of the National Disaster Management Organisation, the Youth employment Agency, as well as offices of the National Health Insurance Scheme and ordered workers to move out.

The workers who feared for their lives had to run from the machete-wielding supporters who insisted on locking up the offices.

The disturbing news about 11 Ghanaians who were shot dead in Togo also broke on that same day. The deceased were attacked by gunmen at the Benin/Togo border near Mongo in the northern part of the country.

Former Majority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Munbarak on Tuesday put forward a strong defence why former President John Mahama should keep his official residence as his retirement package.

For him, the GHS8,800 Parliament agreed to give the former president as rent allowance is insufficient. The Asawase MP said it was an anomaly for a former president to live in a rented accommodation.

But a governance expert disagrees. Dr Eric Oduro Osae said the president’s request was tantamount to a deliberate effort to break the Transition Act of 2016.

He indicated that although the former president was entitled to accommodation, his request breaches the law.

Then came the plea. The New Patriotic Party appealed to its youth who were on rampage, vandalizing state properties to desist from the act.

The party’s National Youth Organiser, Sammy Awuku said government will create more than enough jobs jobs to accommodate the teeming youth.

By 3:00PM that same day, President Akufo-Addo announced the first batch of ministers. The list was heavily dominated by former government officials of the Kufuor government, including three women, Gloria Akuffo as Attorney General, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Hajia Alima Mahama as Minister for Local Government.

Well, on Wednesday, former president John Agyekum Kufuor came to the defence of John Mahama. The former president, who neither condemned or approved of the president’s request said he should be given a chance to have a say in where he is housed.

By 11:00am that same day, the shocking news broke. Former president John Mahama withdrew his request to keep his official residence as a retirement package.

A letter sighted by Myjoyonline.com has the President’s signature confirming he is no longer interested in keeping the house at the No.3 Prestige Link at Cantonments in Accra.

Later that afternoon, President Akufo-Addo released the second batch of his ministers. The list had 12 minister-designates bringing the total number of appointees to 25 with a promise of a third batch expected to be released by Friday.

A notable feature was the creation of three new ministries – The Ministry of Regional Re-organisation which would be headed by Okere MP, Dan Kwaku Botwe.

On Thursday the attacks by supporters of the NPP continued. Their next stop was the Ejura basic school in the Ashanti region.

Eyewitnesses told Joy News the supporters attacked caterers of the school feeding programme and poured away food that was being prepared for the school children.

Meanwhile in Parliament, MPs were pushing for the relocation of an orientation workshop from the usual premises of the Ghana Institute of Management Studies to a more serene environment.

The orientation is held for members to train them on the rules of the House, but MP for Asawase Frank Annor-Dompreh opted for a place outside Accra.

Later that morning, there was a suit demanding the nullification of former president John Mahama’s remission of the sentence given to three supporters of the NDC who threatened to kill judges.

One of the plaintiffs, Nana Asante Bediatuo, is convinced that the presidential pardon granted the three was unconsitutional. The two others are Elipklim Agbemeva, a private legal practitioner and Alfred Yeboah.

That evening, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo terminated appointments of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives in the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

A letter signed by the President’s representative at the Local Government Ministry, Hajia Alima Mahama directed all MMDCEs to “hand-over their relevant duties to Metropolitan/Municipal/District Coordinating Directors (MMDCDs).”

Finally, on Friday, supporters of the NPP who were still on rampage across the country, seizing and destroying public property were told not to repay evil with evil.

Prof Evans Aggrey-Darko said no matter how offended they might have felt about the treatment meted out to them by supporters of the previous government, their approach is wrong.

The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tove Degnbol, wants the new Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration to focus on clearing waste in the public sector. 

Madam Tove Degnbol believes that the challenges that triggered Ghana’s bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) still persist and has become an albatross on the country’s coffers.

By noon, government had released a statement directing the Chief Executive Office of COCOBOD to step aside.

The directive, contained in a letter dated January 12, 2017 and signed by the Executive Secretary to the president Nana Asante Bediatuo, asked Mr Stephen Opuni to vacate his post by 5PM on Friday.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also took his first official trip outside the country on Friday. He left Ghana Friday to attend the 27th France-Africa Summit in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

A statement signed by Acting Director of Communications at the Office of the President, Eugene Arhin said the President is accompanied by First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo on the trip.

Yaw Osafo Marfo

Leader of the NPP transition team, Osafo Marfo

Even as COCOBOD boss prepares to leave office, Joy News was informed that, Dr Stephen Opuni has been locked up in a meeting with the transition team of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Joy News sources at Cocobod disclosed the meeting was convened for the former head of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to account for his stewardship as head of the institution.

Sup. Cephas Arthur

Later on Friday, Spokesperson for the police Suprintendent Cephas Arthur revealed that the Twifo-Hemang Traditional Council has intervened in the prosecution of supporters of the NPP destroying state property.

The Council would rather have the matter settled amicably than have the suspects prosecuted.

 

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