Some Ghanaians are reportedly describing as obscene demands of ex-gratia of former President John Kufuor. The requests, which were agreed upon by Ghana's so-called Chinery Hesse Commission, are to be made public Monday. They were approved by parliament a day before the newly elected President John Atta-Mills took over on January seventh. Opponents said it was unfortunate for the former president to be making what they described as outrageous demands when the economy is in bad shape. But supporters of President Kufuor said the former president has earned the right to have his demands met after leading the country for eight years and handing over power peacefully. Alhaji Iddrisu Bature is a political analyst. From the capital, Accra he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Ghanaians are ready to resist what he described as opulent demands.
"Ghanaians who got wind of this earlier were really seething with anger in that the request and recommendations made by the former President John Agyekum Kufuor, some people see it as extremely vulgar. He requested and then had an approval from the Chinery Hesse Committee, which presented its report to parliament just a day before President John Evens Atta-Mills took over the reins of affairs," Bature pointed out.
He said the ex-gratia demands of the former president are mind boggling.
"In fact what we can confirm is that the former president has requested that he be given two houses. And when we talk about houses for a president you know what it means- one inside Accra and the other outside, which is of his own choosing. He is also requesting that he be paid 18 months' salary for each year that he served as ex-gratia, that is for every one year that he served as president, he be paid 18 months' salary," he said.
Bature said some Ghanaians are saying these demands are unfair at a time when so many people live under a dollar per day.
"He (former President Kufuor) is also requesting that he be paid a pension equivalent to the salary of the sitting president and that he be given six chauffer driven cars including an all purpose one, which means a bullet proof or an armored plate car. This is to be fueled and paid for by the state and these cars must be replaced each four years. He also wants a motorcade so he would not be caught up in traffic and I think this is not fair because his predecessor Jerry John Rawlings was never given those facilities," he said.
He said it would be a herculean task for President Atta-Mills' new administration to find funding to meet the demands of the former president.
"In fact this is the challenge for the John Evans Atta-Mills-led government. The World Bank has come out to publish a report that indicated a balance of payment problems would face this new administration and also 14 percent budget deficit that came about as a result high spending of the previous government in an election year. You must be aware that on the eve of the former president's departure approved salary hikes ranging between 16-34 percent for Ghanaian workers. When you look at all these things you could clearly see that it was all done to dislocate the economy of Ghana under the new administration," he said.
Bature sharply disagreed with those who are calling for similar retirement package awarded former President Rawlings to be accorded Ex-President Kufuor.
"Some of us don't subscribe to that because the dynamics have changed. You cannot say what was given the former president must be the same thing. Ghana is not static, we have moved forward. But it is outrageous and out of place for him (former President Kufuor) to demand those things," Bature pointed out.
He said Ghanaians would strongly oppose what many have described as outlandish and ridiculous demands by former President Kufuor.
"One thing I can assure you is that Ghanaians are going to resist these things," he said.