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03.02.2009 Politics

CJA calls for slash in emoluments for Kufuor, others

By myjoyonline
CJA calls for slash in emoluments for Kufuor, others

Members of the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) on Tuesday led a demonstration to protest against what they said is the outrageous retirement package for former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

This is the first public display of the outrage which greeted news that Parliament had approved an extravagant end of service benefit for the ex-president.

A committee chaired by Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse proposed an emolument package which included six chauffeur-driven vehicles, two houses, a lump sum payment amounting to GH¢460,000 among others.

Hundreds of people clad in red bands around their wrists and head gears, marched through the principal streets of Accra, carrying placards with inscriptions some of which read: 'Kufuor wants to chop Nyafu, Nyafu'; 'Kufuor there is only one President' and 'Prez Mills, Make Ghana Corruption-free'.

For several moments, the protestors rendered streets joining the Kwame Nkrumah Circle gridlocked as they swarmed through.

The protestors were escorted by a heavy band of police officers most of whom were unarmed.

At the Freedom and Justice Park where they converged prior to hitting the streets, leading members of the organisers chronicled a number of reasons why Parliament must review the emolument package for the ex-President.

In an earlier interview with Joy FM, a leading member of the committee, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, said it would be rather hypocritical for the ex-President who had declared Ghana bankrupt by signing up to the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative to want to receive such luxurious benefits.

Spokesman for the pressure group, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. told the press in Accra Mr Kufuor must be given a more modest package to “reflect the reality of our economic situation.”

He described the retirement package for the ex-President as outrageous and said the group would push for President Mills to call for an immediate review.

The CJA later presented its petition to the Chief of Staff, Martey Newman, at the Castle, Osu, detailing their demands and proposals for Mr Kufuor and the other ex-government functionaries.

Meanwhile both the Majority and the Minority sides in Parliament have agreed on a need to review the retirement package.

The House has come under public condemnation since news of the package broke. The public accuses the august house of negligence because it believes the leadership of parliament failed to do due diligence before approving the Chinery-Hesse committee report.

Story by Fiifi Koomson