President John Kufuor is coming under intense criticism after Monday unveiling
a presidential complex named the Golden Jubilee House, which is expected to
serve both as office and official residence of the president and the vice
president. The parties say the government demonstrated its insensitivity to the
plight of the ordinary Ghanaian by using more than 30-million dollars to build
a palace for the president. They also accuse President Kufuor of reneging on
his promise after saying he would not be the first president to use the new
building and claiming that it would be his legacy. This comes after the government
announced the president's staff would be moving into the new complex today in
preparation for President Kufuor's arrival before the end of his second term.
But the government dismissed the accusations as without merit.
Stephen Asamoah-Boateng is Ghana's Minister for Information
and National Orientation. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital,
Accra that Ghanaians should be proud of having a historic national monument
befitting a seat of government after half-a-century of political independence.
president and of course the government today commissioned the new seat of
government for the Republic of Ghana. And within it we have the Nkrumah
heritage house, which is the old flagstaff house that housed the first
president and his family and now has been turned into heritage, where we would
exhibit some of the monuments and things that we used to have. But today is
very significant and it is a day that we have all welcomed the arrival of the
new home for the seat of government and for the first family and the second
family. It also houses a very imposing administrative structure that you can
see from anywhere in Accra," Asamoah-Boateng pointed out.
said the complex was built under the auspices of the government of India.
structure is built with the cooperation of the government and the people of
India and Ghana government money. So it is a very imposing edifice, which is a
national pride and honor, and when every nation becomes as republic and even
when you are not a republic or even a monarchy or whatever, you would need
something that shows as a nation your pride and your honor at where your first
family is housed. And we are very happy to see to it today," he said.
denied the complex, which would serve as both the residence and offices for the
first and second family, would not pose a security challenge in the future.
done enough with the security arrangement at the compound. It is a 20-acre
land, so you can imagine. It's not a small place piece of land. It is huge. And
where the first family is, is separated from where the second family is by a
huge stretch of land as well. But also they both work in the administrative
block, so it makes sense to put them together. But when obviously those two are
together, then the security arrangement changes and it becomes tighter,"
said Ghanaians have unanimously welcomed the era of democracy rather than the
subversion of the country's constitution.
believe that as a nation, we have gone beyond the time of adventurism of
military takeovers, we've gone past it. I'm fairly sure that even if we house
the speaker (of parliament) in the same compound," he said.
Asamoah-Boateng declined to reveal specifically when President Kufuor would move
into the new office building, he admitted his staff would begin moving in
we did the unveiling or the christening and also the naming of it, but the work
is not complete. What we've completed is the administrative block for the
offices to run. What I know is that some sections of the staff of the president
from the castle would start moving in today. They were packing away from the
castle last night and they would be there from today. So we need to have a
gradual movement of the staff. But of course, the staff would have to settle
down to know where everything is and then the president also moves in. I know
he would move in but the time I cannot tell you. Sometimes, President Kufuor
keeps things to himself for a while, so I think I would give him that as the
president to keep those things close to his chest. But we've discussed it and I
know he would move in," Asamoah-Boateng pointed out.
said the new complex would provide more room for the office of the first and
other key thing is what this new building brings to us is the efficiency of
work. Here, we have enough space and in most of the offices there are stretches
of room where there are only small partitions where at least managers or
directors would see their staff and work with them. It brings that kind of
culture of togetherness and every office or organization needs that culture to
hold people together," he said.
decision to construct the complex generated robust national debate tainted with
partisan sentiments, which sought to suggest the timing as wrong, and as not
taking into account the hardships the nation was experiencing.
Meanwhile, while Inaugurating
the phase one of project, President John Agyekum Kufuor said the Government at
every stage of the construction had been sensitive to the financial
implications of the venture as well as the conditions of life of the society.
The project was originally estimated to cost 36.9
million dollars but with the provision of added facilities to enhance external
and internal security as advised by the Security Services, it is now expected
to go up. It was undertaken with an
Indian concessionary loan that has a 50 per cent grant element and an interest
rate of 1.75 percent, repayable in 25 years, including a five-year
moratorium. Indian contractors
Shapoorji Pallonji undertook the project. The construction works started in