President Mills Defends Acquisition Of New Aircraft

The President, John Evans Atta Mills, has defended government’s decision to purchase five aircraft to re-tool the military and provide an aircraft for executive travel. According to President Mills, the havoc caused by the floods in some parts of the Eastern Region vindicates government’s decision to acquire the aircraft, arguing that they could have been used to rescue some of the thousands affected by the floods. Interacting with some of the flood victims during his tour of some affected areas in the Eastern Region on Monday July 25, President Mills said the efforts of the military to rescue some trapped victims signals how important it is to equip them. President Mills said his government will not hesitate in providing similar support to other sectors of the economy to strengthen their capacities to contribute to the growth of the nation. “My brothers and sisters, let me talk about one thing: it appears some Ghanaians are protesting government’s decision to purchase some items to re-tool the army to rescue people during times like this. If the army is not provided with such items how will they support rescue operations such as this? “It is government’s responsibility to address the concerns of all sectors of the economy” President Mills said. However, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as ‘Sir John’ has reiterated that while the opposition party agrees that the military need new aircraft, some aspects of the proposed purchase raise serious issues of concern. Speaking on the Citi Eyewitness News, Sir John said everything about the procurement of the aircrafts by the NDC government “stinks” of corruption. He also hit out at President Mills, accusing him of hypocrisy and stating that the military does not need an aircraft to rescue flood victims. Sir John noted that the argument by President Mills that the acquisition of aircrafts should not be politicized smacked of hypocrisy since he led the then opposition NDC to accuse ex President Kufuor of profligate spending in his attempt to purchase similar aircrafts for the military in 2008. But, deputy Information Minister, Baba Jamal disagrees, saying Sir John has deliberately chosen to misunderstand the reasons for the acquisition of the aircrafts now. Baba Jamal insisted there was nothing untoward about the acquisition of the aircrafts; the present hue and cry was but an attempt by the NPP to discredit the government’s decision to re-tool the military for the growth of the nation.