General News of Saturday, 4 January 2014
President John Mahama and his family are back home from their Christmas holiday trip to the United Arab Emirates.
They returned early Saturday morning and were met at the Kotoka International Airport by Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.
While in Dubai, the President held bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
He also attended the graduation of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s first external distance learning graduates in Dubai.
His trip stirred some controversy back home.
The General Secretary of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, in an interview with the XYZ Breakfast Show on Thursday, accused the President of insensitivity.
He wondered why the President would abandon the country and travel to the “land of milk and honey” while ordinary Ghanaians grappled with economic hardship.
“As a president, he ought to be here with his people, especially in these trying moments in our life’s journey, in our political journey. The president should be here with us and to rejoice with us and mourn with us even in these difficult times. But what do we see, the man packs bag and baggage, with his family, goes to Dubai where things are, you know, there is honey and oil, milk flowing, then to enjoy his Christmas festivities while the prices of petrol, utilities have all increased”.
In Sir John’s view, the President should not have gone on holiday at all.
“…When market women are crying that their wares are not being bought, there’s no money in the system, the dollar to the cedi rate is so, so high… prices have rocketed, indeed when teachers… some have not received their salaries, doctors are crying, nurses are crying, workers of all walks of life are crying, then you have a president as insensitive as he is, who leaves us, goes out there to enjoy himself while the rest of us suffer. That is my worry.”
According to Mr Owusu Afriyie, “a president should care, a president should exude hope for us when people are hopeless, when the ship is rudderless we must help the captain at the helm of affairs who steers clear the ship. This is not the kind of president we have in this country and that is why I am worried for him to have gone. I don’t know who advises him to go but those who did and himself taking that decision have not helped the president.”