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General News of Tuesday, 28 September 2021


There is disquiet within the ranks of the Ghana Air Force - Ablakwa alleges

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and logo of the Ghana Armed Forces Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and logo of the Ghana Armed Forces

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, has alleged that there is some form of disquiet within the ranks of the Ghana Air Force with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's preference for luxurious aircraft operated by a foreign crew.

According to him, the Ghana Air Force personnel believe they are professionally trained with unquestionable loyalty to guarantee the security of the president, yet they are not being used.

The Ranking Member for Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs in a post on his Facebook timeline titled 'An open letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,' questioned how far the President is willing to go with his personal comfort at the expense of Ghanaians and what he meant when he spoke about protecting the public purse.

He further indicated that, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo owes Ghanaians direct explanation in the true spirit of transparency and accountability as to why he prefers to lease aircrafts at an astonishing cost to the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wrote:

"As Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces whose Air Force's Communications Squadron is responsible for the Presidential Jet, you owe Ghanaians direct explanation in the true spirit of transparency and accountability as to why you prefer to lease aircraft at an astonishing cost to the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer instead of flying the Falcon purchased by a government you were an integral part of at a fantastic cost US$37,150,000.00 in 2008. (See Parliamentary Hansard of 19th March, 2008).

"Ghanaians deserve and demand to know from you why you prefer alien luxury aircraft operated by foreign crews when our celebrated Air Force professionals with unquestionable loyalty trained at significant expense to the taxpayer guarantee better security for our presidents — an action creating considerable disquiet within the ranks of the Ghana Air Force.

"Ghanaians want to know just how far you are willing to go with narcissistic personal comfort at their expense and exactly what you meant by protecting the public purse? They also want to know what it means to burden-share in this period of economic hardship and what aspect of the burden you are responsible for?"

The NDC MP observed that while the President was away in the States attending the UN General Assemby, many Ghanaians were asking "if the already struggling taxpayer now has to take care of your ostentatious Arabian-king-style travels while additionally bearing the cost of other presidents using our Presidential Jet?"

He argues, a good number of citizens are wondering if Ghana is not better off spending the millions being dissipated on your luxury charters on purchasing a new aircraft to meet the President's standards — "a standard obviously way above the contemplation of all your predecessors from Presidents Kufuor through Mills to Mahama. (Strikingly, records available to us in Parliament reveal that you have already spent in excess of GHS100million on foreign travels alone)."

The MP also wondered why the President decided to arrive in Ghana at 1.41 am on Monday, September 27, at the Jubilee Pavilion instead of a proper welcome at the airport like the ones Ghana organises in celebrating the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.

"I note that it's been quite a long return trip as you were compelled to detour for refuelling at the Amílcar Cabral International Airport in Cape Verde at about 20:43GMT on Sunday [...] As you may have found out when you landed at the Jubilee Pavilion, your counterpart, Liberian President George Weah has returned in one piece our Presidential Jet - the Dassault Falcon 900 EXE which you permitted him to use in your absence.

"Mr. President, many Ghanaians especially NPP supporters and your appointees would have loved to really welcome you back home at the airport in grand style following your much-touted diplomatic exploits in the US, however, you seem to prefer a Nicodemus arrival [...] This must be very strange for a government that organizes elaborate welcome parties to receive COVID-19 vaccines at the airport and yet we are not afforded the privilege to welcome the great negotiator who made it possible in the first place for Ghana to receive these vaccines. Even though haters and Jeremiahs as you like to describe them will claim you arrived at that unholy hour to avoid prying eyes as you take your royal swagger disembarking steps, I wouldn’t be surprised if you retort that the Jeremiahs should be contemptuously ignored," Okudzeto Ablakwa's post read further.

He went on: "Sir, your deafening silence on this matter which is essentially about your personal indiscretions has reached a crescendo which is no longer tenable. At the very least, be bold enough to publicly defend your actions if you are indeed proud of them.

"Respectfully, opting for arrogant silence and yet choosing to obstinately defy public outrage by continuously renting these luxury monsters must be the height of disrespect any president in the world ever showed to the very people who elected him."

"My colleagues and I would not rest until we secure full accountability for the Ghanaian people. As you warned in your inaugural address, we refuse to be a junior partner to the executive and I dare add that neither shall we be your lackeys," Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa concluded.

Read below his full post.

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