Ablakwa recalls how ‘opposition’ Akufo-Addo shot down JJ presidential jet purchase

    North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has extracted from parliament’s hansard, what he says were the argument put forth by Nana Akufo-Addo, then an opposition MP for Abuakwa, in which he identified with the concerns of sensitivity raised by fellow opposition MP at the time, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, as they debated a decision by President Jerry John Rawlings, a little over two decades ago, to buy a presidential jet.

    Mr Ablakwa has thrown the two-decade-old comments of now-president Nana Akufo-Addo into the current raging debate about the propriety of buying a new president jet as announced by the president’s spokesperson Mr Eugene Arhin a few weeks ago.

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    Read Mr Ablakwa’s full post and extract:

    Time, they say, is no one’s friend. It appears principle and consistency are such rare commodities.

    Find below, an extract from Nana Akufo-Addo’s debate contribution in Parliament some 21 years ago when President Rawlings initiated steps to purchase Ghana’s third Presidential Jet – the Gulfstream GIII.

    “Nana Akufo-Addo (NPP — Abuakwa): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate. It is good to see that the Minister and his spin-doctor, the Minister of Communications, are both here to listen to us on this matter. Mr. Speaker, I intend to limit my intervention to two main issues.

    Already, my hon. colleague, the Member for Offinso North (Dr. K.K. Apraku), has, in his usual powerful presentation, alerted us to the sensitivity of this transaction; that at a time when there is a crying need for greater public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when the students are crying for an increase of public expenditure on tertiary education, they are met with a cry that there is no money but the President is entitled to have spent for himself $19million over the next five years on this aircraft.

    Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need that has been consistently urged from this side of the House for us to review and prioritise public expenditure, this case justifies that call. I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that if the priorities are spelt out properly, the purchase of an Executive jet will come very low down on the scale of priorities.

    …Mr. Speaker, we have to express our displeasure at the manner in which the powers of this House have been subverted. Mr. Speaker, when we are saying these things, I know that in a matter of a jet, it is an emotional matter for Members of the Majority, especially since it concerns their all-powerful President, Jerry John Rawlings and his comforts.

    …Mr. Speaker, the public interest has not benefited from this transaction; constitutional government has not benefited from this transaction. The conduct is one that is reprehensible and however difficult the Majority may find it to deny the President this latest expensive toy that he seeks in the sunset of his career, the public interest is not served by this transaction. And Mr. Speaker, we are going to call upon the House and our colleagues in the Majority to join us in rejecting this transaction.

    …Mr. Speaker, by the grace of His Excellency, the all-powerful President. Soon we shall be calling him His Majesty in this House, Mr. Speaker — at his grace. Mr. Speaker, we are saying that this transaction is a most unsatisfactory one.”

    Parliamentary Debates (Official Report)

    Fourth Series; Vol. 24; No. 21

    Tuesday, 15th February, 2000.

    Columns: 1653,1654,1682 & 1683.



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