The Presidential Spokesman, Mr Mahama Ayariga, yesterday clarified the issues relating to a purported directive to the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) to suspend the decongesting exercise in the city, saying that although Mr Alfred Vanderpuije, the AMA boss, had met the President to discuss the issue, the AMA boss had not been “ordered to stop the exercise”.
At a press conference held at the Castle, Osu, yesterday, Mr Ayariga also dismissed assertions that the President had apologised to the AMA boss, disputing a claim Mr Vanderpuije had made a day earlier at another press conference.
“All no time did the President call the AMA boss to apologise to him,” he said, and explained that as a routine, when the President returned from Copenhagen, he invited the Mayor of Accra to a close-door meeting.
He said the meeting was over the furore over the decongesting exercise and how the urban renewable policy, as promised in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto, could be executed with a human face and a lot of sensitivity to the people.
“The Mayor, as a matter of fact, had a closed-door-meeting with the Presdient on the exercise and within that framework there was a discussion on the programme. Naturally, there would be some cautions here and there on the need to carry it out without many problems for the public,” he said.
Mr Ayariga’s press conference was promised by a publication that the President had directed the AMA chief executive to suspend the decongesting exercise. That publication was immediately countered by Mr Vanderpuije at a press conference, during which he claimed that the President had not ordered him to stop the exercise and that the President had apologised to him for the embarrassment caused him (Mr Vanderpuije) by the publication.
Mr Ayariga said the President, mindful of the constitutional protection of the relative authority of the AMA regarding its decision-making, could not have ordered the AMA to stop the exercise.
“The President has no intention to subvert the decision and authority of the assemblies. They could only be discussing how these policies could be carried out with minimum outcry from the people,” he said. On whether or not President Mills apologised to Mr Vanderpuije for the embarrassment caused him by the media reports, Mr Ayariga said, “At no time did the President call the AMA boss to apologise to him.”
He said when the President’s attention was drawn to the publications in the media, he wondered how “part of the discussion” had got into the media.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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