Ghana’s ex-President John Mahama received necessary kudos for continuing a long held culture in Ghana of peaceful transitions. Ex-President John Mahama accepted the victory of current President Nana Akufo-Addo without any fuss and therefore allowed Ghana to seamlessly transit.
It seems, however, that there is one more lingering issue. At the end of Mahama’s tenure on Saturday, he had failed to vacate the house he had occupied while in office. The move caused a huge issue in Ghana that saw critics accusing him of holding on to it unlawfully.
Ex-president John Mahama insists that he reached agreement with new President Nana Akufo-Addo’s team to remain there last month. An official close to President Nana Akufo-Addo has, however, refuted those claims.
Yaw Osafo Mafo, the head of President Akufo-Addo’s transitional team, says that the ex-President has not been given permission to continue living in the house he occupied while in office.
To clear matters up, as president, Mahama stayed in the vice-presidential residence rather than the Presidential residence known as Flagstaff House. He elected to remain in the home of the vice-president which he had been before his elevation to the presidency in 2012.
Yaw Osafo Maafo is quoted by the Daily Guide newspaper as saying;
“We have not approved of his request, and I want to repeat we have received the request and the requests are two – for him to be given his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office.”
A statement on Monday saw ex-President John Mahama insisting that an agreement had been reached last month with President Akufo-Addo’s team. In the statement, Mahama also said that the last parliament had resolved prior to its dissolution that a home and office should be given to Mr Mahama “in line with convention and existing precedent”.
In October, Ghana’s parliament passed a law that stipulated that government officials had three months from the date of the new president’s inauguration to hand over state-owned homes or face forcible eviction. The law, however, excludes former presidents and vice-presidents.
Local media reports have touted the residence as being earmarked for the new Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia who now had nowhere to stay. Mahama’s office described the report as mischievous, clarifying in its statement that;
“The vice-president is expected to take up residence in the house known as Australia House, which was previously occupied by former Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.”
With all the back and forth one can only wonder if the ex-President will, or for that matter can, be forcefully removed from the vice-Presidential residence.