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24.01.2006 Press Review

EDITORIAL: New Aircraft:Time to Decide!

By Accra Mail

Last weekend God saved our country. The President of our Republic, John Agyekum Kufuor and other senior public officials were nearly caught up in an air disaster. Sorry, there is no other refined way of putting it.

That we were spared was due to a configuration of good fortune, good piloting skill and timely observance of the malfunction. Significantly, the aircraft they were traveling in to the 4th AU Summit in Khartoum was not our own "Flying Coffin" which is currently grounded because it is not airworthy. Our President was in a borrowed aircraft, courtesy of the Libyan leader.

This is a wake-up call. WE NEED OUR OWN NATIONAL AIRCRAFT NOW!

The Gulfstream aircraft sitting at the air force base in Accra has so many question marks over it, so we understand why President Kufuor has avoided it since he assumed office five years ago, but we also believe that the government has taken too long in solving the financial riddles round it.

With this near miss in Libya, we believe the time has come for the government to take a bold decision on the Gulfstream and dispose of it one way or the other so that we can be in a position to invest in another executive aircraft through transparent negotiations and honest purchase. We believe that if those involved in the acquisition of the Gulfstream had been that transparent, this aircraft would have been in service, despite some peoples' misgivings about the timeliness or otherwise of its purchase.

After all the F28 was criticized when it was bought originally by the executed General Acheampong, but went on to serve the country well. Ironically, ex-Flt. Lt. Rawlings, the man who executed General Acheampong, made more use of the F28 than any living Ghanaian. It was he who ordered the Gulfstream under most mysterious circumstances.

The proverb says we should not cut our nose to spite our face - how true - we need not expose our president and other public officials to clear and present dangers emanating from make shift executive travel. Let us defy our president and purchase a new aircraft for the Republic. Period!

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