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Editorial: Ghana Needs Presidential Enclave   
 
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24-Feb-2010  
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The issue involving the settlement of former President Kufuor, as directed by the 1992 Constitution, became a topical issue in the middle of last year, but the matter late subsided. The recent burning of the residence of former President Rawlings has resuscitated the debate

There has been a strong argument that the Atta Mills government should not re-build Mr. Rawlings’ official residence, without making similar arrangements as to where President Kufuor would also stay.

The Chronicle is not interested in joining this debate. However, our concern is how to settle our former Heads of State without imposing a needless burden on the state.

According to the Constitution, it is the outgoing President who has to determine his or her re-settlement package, which to us, is not the best, although it may be backed by law.

As it stands now, an outgoing president can set up a committee, which could suggest to the nation that an aircraft should be bought as a retirement package, whether the state can afford it or not.

When Mr. Rawlings was leaving office, he set up the Greenstreet Committee, which made recommendations concerning his retirement package. Whether the state could afford that package or not, the tax payer was forced to bear that cost.

Mr. Kufuor also followed suit by setting up the Chinery Hesse Committee, whose ostentatious recommendations raised eyebrows in the country. The Chronicle thinks that these developments could have been avoided if the state had adopted a standard practice for the treatment of all our former presidents, which would eliminate the current situation where the president determines his or her own retirement package.

The Chronicle is, therefore, suggesting to all stakeholders, to search and find a suitable place in Accra, which must be designated as a Presidential Enclave to house all former presidents.

This means a uniform building and offices would be constructed to be used during their lifetime. The facility must revert to the state after they and their wives have passed away. This idea would eliminate unreasonable demands made through committees that are set up. It will also help the state to provide them with adequate protection. In some developed countries, all diplomatic missions are housed in one enclave to ensure easy access and protection by the government.

The Chronicle, therefore, thinks that if this concept is introduced in Ghana for our former Heads of State, it would help the country in the long run. of course, we are aware that the Constitution mandates the President to set up a committee to determine his retirement package, but if all stakeholders agree to our proposal, that portion of the constitution can be amended for the state house former presidents in one enclave.

If a former Head of State decides that he will not stay in Accra, then that should be his own headache, and must not be passed onto the state.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle
 
 

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