The Ghana Armed Forces has explained that its Fokker 27 aircraft can be used by any individual for genuine purposes within the country.
It said over the years, musicians, football teams, individuals and corporate entities who could afford the prices had hired the aircraft for various purposes.
The Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Col Emmanuel Nibo, was speaking to the Daily Graphic about recent media reports that one of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) aspirants, Mr Alan Kyerematen, had used a presidential jet for his campaign.
Mr Kyerematen who travelled to Wa in the Upper West Region was alleged to have wooed some delegates that Mr Owusu-Agyeman was having a meeting with. Mr Kyerematen's team has denied this account explaining nothing like that happened.
Col Nibo added that the aircraft formed part of a fleet of aircraft which was used for Airlink Commercials and operated as passenger planes from Accra to Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale until one of it was involved in a crash.
He said the aircraft was normally released to the general public when “there is no operational commitment”.
Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman described the situation as “very upsetting” and likened it to a scenario in the “Animal Farm” book, where some animals were perceived to be more important than others.
He said Mr Kyerematen had also hired the plane to Tamale.
He said he got to the venue before 10 a.m. and when the delegates started coming, all of a sudden some people came round spreading word that Mr Kyerematen had come with a plane and was distributing money.
He said this made people who had even settled for the start of the meeting to desert the place and went to where Mr Kyerematen was distributing money and never came till around 3 p.m.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman said not satisfied with what had happened he contacted the regional executive to find out if they were aware of Mr Kyerematen's arrival and possible meeting with some of the delegates in the region but they answered in the negative.
He said the regional executive told him that “Alan comes and does whatever he likes without informing any regional executive”.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman said he had complained to the National Chairman of the Party, Mr Peter Mac Manu, about the behaviour of Mr Alan Kyerematen. He expressed the view that the contest was an internal thing, which and should be done fairly.
At about 5.15 p.m. on Wednesday when Mr Owusu-Agyeman was speaking to the Daily Graphic, he said “even at Tamale, he was doing the same thing. I was supposed to meet some delegates but he came here and was distributing bigger envelopes, which had attracted all the people I had invited to talk to”.
When contacted, a spokesperson for the Alan Campaign Team said the noise that the Alan Campaign team had interrupted their programme was not true.
He said this was not the first time Alan had been to a place and met other candidates, because recently he met Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Mr Felix Owusu-Adjepong and later exchanged pleasantries with the later.
He explained that their candidate had already toured the whole country, but after the selection of the 10 delegates, he deemed it fit to touch base with the selected few.
He said because the time was short, the team decided to charter a commercial flight, which was not available, so they decided to go for the Fokker 27, which was at the service of all Ghanaians provided they could afford the cost.
The spokesperson said the itinerary drawn was to tour the three northern regions, but later decided on Wa and Tamale.
He explained that what had caused the hullabaloo was that one of the delegates, who was on his way to the Castle Guest House on the Jirapa Road, where Mr Kyerematen was meeting the delegates, missed his way and entered the Upland Hotel, where one of the aspirants was also meeting delegates.
He said the delegate from Lambushie was asked where he missed his way and whom he would vote for and the delegate mentioned the name Mr Kyerematen, because he was the only candidate who had visited his constituency.
Concerning the distribution of money, he explained that it was normal and not limited to only the Alan Campaign team.
He said it was not good to meet delegates who had travelled long distances.
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem