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General News of Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Eviction of traders at Akufo-Addo's residence: Critics high on emotions, low on intellect - Baako

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, has waded into the debate about the decision by national security to evict traders close to the Nima residence of president Nana Akufo-Addo, describing some of the criticisms as high on emotions and low on intellect.

Borrowing a famous quote from ex-president John Rawlings, the newspaper editor said: "populist nonsense must give way to populist sense" in the discussion of this all-important national security issue.

Kweku Baako Jnr says a change in Akufo-Addo’s status – from candidate to a president – requires an improvement in his security.

Backing moves by National Security to move traders and shop owners around the president’s private residence, he said it would be imprudent to assume that he is still safe just because he has spent a significant part of his life there with the people.

“The mere fact that the man has become president triggers a new security dynamic in that environment,” he said on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokroko,’ Wednesday.

National Security has given the traders and shop owners around the president’s private residence at Nima, a suburb of Accra, until March 15, 2018 to vacate the place they have occupied for years.

The move follows the declaration of the area by National Security as a security zone.

The president who is said to be compensating the affected persons from his own coffers has been sternly criticized by some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress after the occupants revealed that the compensation package of between GHS3,000 to GHS10,000 was woefully inadequate.

Others also questioned why the president who is said to live successively at the Flagstaff House and his private residence suddenly feels threatened by the same people he dined with in the run-up to the December 2016 general elections.

A mechanic shop close to the president's residence

Some others also queried why the president prefers to live in his private residence when the Flagstaff House has been purposely built to cater for all his needs. For them, detailing security to the president’s private residence was a waste of state funds.

But Mr Baako said that analogy is unbelievable.

“It is incredible, absolutely incredible. It is emotions without the benefit of intellect…sentiments are not a substitute for science.”

In his view, moving the traders and shop owners from that vicinity was not wrong because the president's security should never be compromised.

Citing the recent arrest of some persons at Odorkor, a suburb of Accra for the possession of hand grenades, the veteran journalist said the new levels of security threats in the country requires an increase in the country’s security apparatus and especially that of the president.

He said it will be unrealistic for people to say that once the president has been secured at the Flagstaff House he should stay always and not visit his private residence.

A front view of the President's Nima residence

“Even if there is a law, that law will not be able to prevent the president from visiting his private residence,” he said adding that all previous presidents have almost always lived in their own residence of choice but worked from the seat of the presidency so Akufo-Addo should not be restricted from doing same.

For him, instead of crucifying the president and National Security for the move, perhaps the conversation needs to be about the compensation being handed the affected occupants.

“How to manage the process of relocation is key…that’s what we should look at. But the security consideration is non-negotiable,” he said.

He stressed that ignoring the National Security consideration to gain political capital will be disastrous for the nation.