Some Ghanaians are reportedly expressing outrage after
President John Kufuor's life was put at risk over the weekend when the
presidential jet carrying him aborted its trip due to technical malfunctions.
They are calling for the resignation of President Kufuor's top advisors for
putting his life in danger. They contend that President Kufuor has been not
been using the presidential jet, nicknamed the Flying Coffin, due to its
was traveling on the presidential jet on a scheduled state visit to Equatorial
Guinea to participate in that country's 40th Independence
anniversary with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo. The flight had to be aborted after the pilot cited failure of the
pressure system, which made temperature within the cabin began to rise
the capital Accra, managing editor Ben
Ephson of the independent Daily Dispatch newspaper tells
reporter Peter Clottey Ghanaians are upset that President Kufuor's Advisors did
not value his life.
"Actually what happened is
that the pilot said there was a reduction in pressure so the internal pressure
system was not working. So the plane started getting hot. So 20 minutes after
the flight, he (President Kufuor) had to return to Accra," Ephson noted.
said Ghanaians are expressing outrage after the president's aborted attempt to
fly in the "Flying Coffin" presidential jet.
you remember, this plane in the 1990s it was nicknamed the flying coffin
because ex-President Jerry Rawlings had used it and he has had a few close
shaves with life and death. So the ex-president had to buy a new presidential
jet. Now, when President Kufuor was in opposition before winning the 2000
election, he had criticized the way and manner the new plane was bought. So I
believe that arising from that previous criticism, when he (President Kufuor)
came to power he refused to use that plane and in the end, he exchanged that
plane for some helicopters and jet fighters for the Ghana Air force," he said.
said although the president would be going out of office this year, he
controversially put forward a plan, which would acquire two new presidential
within the last three or four months, he (President Kufuor) has put together a
package and he is buying two presidential jets totaling $110 million dollars,
and which would be delivered in mid 2009. That is for whoever becomes the next
president to use," Ephson pointed out.
said President Kufuor's plan to purchase two new presidential planes did not go
down well with some Ghanaians who he said are still opposed to it.
decision to buy those two planes came under a lot of criticism, and some of the
arguments used by the ruling NPP (New Patriotic Party) was that President
Rawlings also bought one. And I believe this is what quite irritated a lot of
floating voters because their argument is that well, for the floating voters,
President Rawlings because he had a majority in parliament in 2000, bought a
presidential jet, and you (President Kufuor) to use. You are buying it for
others to use. This is what has irritated some of the floating voters. So,
clearly there was criticism that well, whether we like it or not, money has
been spent that was the people's money and not that of the former president. He
(Ex-President Rawlings) used state funds to buy the presidential jet, so yes,
you may have criticized it, but yes you have to use it," he said.
said Ghanaians are expressing their frustration over the plane's close call in
think that people have been a bit angry. Angry in the sense that the presidents
put himself at that risk because, take it or leave it, he is our number one
citizen. And that if decided not to use the plane, people expected that he
could have chartered a plane or had a plane sent for him, or gone by a
commercial flight because that plane was not named the flying coffin for
nothing. It had put the former president's life at risk. So people were
wondering, yes he may had flown a few times, but you know the president's
health is always paramount in any given country, and people thought that he was
taking an unnecessary risk," Ephson noted.