Let’s Build Office Complex for President
The choice of place for the use of an outgoing president as office has always generated a lot of debates among government officials and the general populace. We saw the same thing happen during former president John Agyekum Kufuor’s time as has happened when former president John Mahama was exiting. In the case of president Mahama, a letter was written to the incoming government to allow him to maintain his official residence as office. But that did not go down well with majority of Ghanaians. Meanwhile, the constitution of Ghana provides that an outgoing president should constitute a commission to decide among other things the public facility to use as office. The question one would ask is that why then do we have issue with anything coming from the presidential commission? Where are we getting it wrong?
One thing I have come to realise as the bane on our forward movement as a country is that, whenever we are confronted with a particular problem or the other, we do not attempt to solve it from the root cause. We tend to find other temporal ways around it that only serve a short-term purpose but not the long-term solution that would cure the problem once and for all. That for me, is a mark of laziness, lack of foresight and lack of proactivity. Some of the major problems confronting us today are only recycling themselves. We have men and women who shout loud enough on rooftops claiming they have solution to Ghana’s problems. But when they are given the chance, they do not consider it an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that indeed they have the solution. Instead we hear them come out with catalogues of excuses.
I think the issue having to do with the choice of a particular facility as office is a constitutional problem. To avoid the repeat of what happened under presidents Kufuor and Mahama with regards to their choice of office, we need to pass into law all the things an outgoing president is entitled to in respect of office. Mind you, if the late president Mills had lived to serve his full term, the same problem would have arisen in one way or the other even though majority of us know him very well but those around him could do things to taint his image. It is believed that some of the issues emanating from government circles never come to attention of the president. Some of those decisions are never communicated to the president as they are sometimes hurriedly taken without thinking through it thoroughly.
Since the main contention has to do with choosing a place for use as office of the former president, let’s put up ultra-modern edifices at vantage locations in Accra for any outgoing president to occupy. Alternatively, when a president is in his third year of his first term in office, he should be consulted to decide where his office should be located. Funds are then released for the construction of the office. This kind of project must be completed before his first term ends. No projection should be made on second term otherwise should it happen that the sitting president fails to win his bid for second term, we may have some difficulty getting him an office. I am not very familiar with best practices around the world though when it comes to this particular issue. But we must devise our own system that is suitable for us. We don’t have to always copy from others.
We must stop over reliance on existing government buildings that are meant for other purposes for use as office. Imagine what would happen if every outgoing president says he would use this building or that building for office or if one government official decides to buy his official residence for use as his private residence as has happened in this country some years ago. If we continue on that trajectory, what is likely to happen in the near future is that we would have created deficit for buildings meant for other functions. And I would not be surprised if an outgoing president opts to use Accra International Conference Centre as his office one day.
I am hoping that this issue about office for an outgoing president wouldn’t occur when president Nana Akuffo Addo has done his term(s) in office. We must get it straight from now.