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20.01.2009 Politics

Ex-Gratia for former Presidents is insult - Tony Aidoo

By myjoyonline
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A leading member of the NDC, Dr. Tony Aidoo, says the explanation that the new retirement package is to motivate Presidents leave office “is sheer nonsense.”

He said people who have been voted for by Ghanaians cannot say they will not leave office when their term of office expires.

“We don't need soldiers or police to push them out, the people themselves will go and push them out,” he told Joy FM's Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

A new package of retirement benefits recommended by a Chinery Hesse Committee has caused a public outrage but proponents say the package is not too much.

A caller into the Super Morning Show said if the package is implemented he will commit suicide.

Under the new package, the former President should be given fully furnished residences that befit a former President at a place of his choice - one in Accra and another out of the national capital.

In addition, the former President would be entitled among other privileges, to six fully maintained comprehensively insured, fuelled and chauffeur-driven cars to be replaced every four years. The fleet comprise three salon cars, two cross-country vehicles and one all-purpose vehicle.

A former deputy Information Minister, Mr Frank Agyekum, said the package is meant to guarantee Presidents comfortable living conditions after they have left office so as to discourage them from wanting to hang unto power.

He said when Presidents feel their post-presidency life will be bleak, they are tempted to hang onto power.

Mr Agyekum also explained that the six cars are meant to ensure a former President is is able to ferry his guests.

But Dr. Aidoo said that rationalization is unreasonable and untenable.

He said the majority of Ghanaians were living under deplorable conditions and so to give such largesse to a former President is inexcusable.

“I have agonized since I heard the package because it is obnoxious and an insult to Ghanaians.”

He said government will review the package according to the prevailing circumstances in the country.

Another panelist on the programme, Mr. Kofi Bentle, said packages such as these serve to justify military insurrections.

He said Ghana cannot afford to make its former Presidents live like Arabian Kings.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu

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