In Ghana, plans by President John Kufuor’s government to buy two new presidential jets is generating controversy. The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) a non-governmental pressure group is calling the governments move a misplaced priority and an unfortunate misuse of the country’s scarce resources. But the government contends that it needs to re-equip the military, which the government claims is ill outfitted to face modern challenges. Bernard Morna is a leading member of the CJA. From Ghana’s capital, Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey it is regrettable for President Kufuor’s government to be insensitive to the suffering of the masses.
“This is an endorsement of our government’s commitment to use scarce state resources for the benefit of the few that are put in privilege positions. We of the CJA think at this critical moment in our national life majority of our people cannot get water to drink, the government of Ghana would have sufficient resources to put at the disposal of the president for us is a misplaced priority. But like we have always maintained, this can only be an endorsement of the profligacy of our government,” Morna noted.
He described the government plans to buy the jets are detrimental to the well being of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“Clearly, at this critical time one wonders what the priority of our nation is. Is it that of improving the health sector to retain the majority of our doctors as a result of little incomes that they earn?” He asked.
Morna questioned the rationale behind the government’s plan to purchase the jets.
“We live in a very uniform world today where military interventions and military overthrows are unacceptable. So what will our armed forces be using the aircrafts for? Two, we are all in this country when President George Bush came to Ghana, and we all saw what happened. Our armed forces were relegated to an appendix to the extent that Burma camp area through to the Teshie (town near Accra) area that houses the military of Ghana that are supposed to protect the territorial integrity of our country was actually cordoned off as a result of the president coming from the United States. So, it tells you that our military can only be reduced to an appendix when you even have one president visiting Ghana,” Morna pointed out.
He said the Committee for Joint Action is displeased with the Kufuor government’s plan to purchase the two presidential jets.
“We are not comfortable, but like it has always been the case, our parliament has become a rubber stamp. That whatever emanates from the president or the executive arm of government will simply go through because of the fact that some members of parliament that are already ministers or some that are having some aspirations to become ministers still have to vote hook, line, and sinker for policies that are even inimical to the survival of their constituents. And that is the state of our parliament… the CJA is apparently and totally opposed to the currents of modes of debates in parliament… that parliament would not do anything to reverse this,” he said.
Meanwhile the minority in Ghana’s parliament is reportedly upset with the government’s plane purchase plans, describing it as unconstitutional, lacking clarity, and insensitive to the real needs of the country.