You are here: HomeNews2009 07 10Article 165197

General News of Friday, 10 July 2009


Where will Obama Sleep?

Jubilee House, Peduase Lodge or US Embassy ?

Speculation over where the 44th President of the USA, Barack Obama, would sleep continues to pop up in various media reports, with the latest speculation being that he may stay at the recently completed Holiday Inn Hotel close to the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

The speculation, which has been downplayed by management of the hotel, follows earlier denials by the Ghanaian presidency that the US President may be received or hosted at the swanky Jubilee House presidential residence built by the Kufuor administration with opposition from the then opposition NDC.

Director of Presidential Protocol Mr Victor Smith, however, denied those speculations when he told the media that the notion of receiving or hosting the first African American President of the US has not featured in any discussion and that “there are no immediate plans to occupy that building.”

Equally credible but unconfirmed speculations that the American first family may be housed at the heavily retooled Peduase Lodge presidential villa built by Ghana’s first president because of the speed with which rehabilitation works were recently done have been shut down by sources close to the presidency, who insist that the facility is not on the list of potential hosting grounds.

The speculations have been rife following reports that the brief day visit of the 42nd US president Bill Clinton and wife Hilary to Ghana in March 1998 was cut short because of the unavailability of appropriate hosting facility.

Since then the 43rd US President, George Bush and his wife and family, have visited Ghana and stayed for three days, with their place of residence being almost a well-kept secret up.

Sources say though the Americans booked the presidential suites at the Labadi Beach Hotel during the visit of the Bush’s in February 2008 at the time, it was never used, leaving some to conclude that they checked into bunkers underneath the multi-million dollar security-reinforced US Embassy in Accra.

Despite having two of the world’s all-time well-loved presidential couple, the American visitors have left almost nothing to chance, with their security officials set to take over total control of the security apparatus of the country from tomorrow.

US Security and Intel officers who have been in Ghana for sometime now are set to lock down the Kotoka International Airport till the arrival and departure of the world’s most famous presidential couple from Thursday noon, with limited access to the airport area by ordinary Ghanaians, including staff of civil aviation and other related airport jobs.

The Americans, who have a history of high security measures around their presidents because of their peculiar history and desire to leave nothing undone in protecting the No 1 image of their country, are set to also shut down activities at surrounding facilities around the airport.

Already there are indications that business activities at the Silver Star Tower and other installations around the airport would be closed during the period of the US President’s visit as part of measures to ensure the security and safety of the first American family.

The only accessible property, the freshly built Holiday Inn hotel close to the airport, has been commandeered by American officials to thwart any late booking by anyone.

All roads to the airport are also expected to be sealed off with checkpoints to screen people who may have to necessarily enter the area, Police Public Relations Chief DSP Kwesi Oforia said on a TV station Monday.

Yet it is not only the national capital that has caught on the Obama fever. The scheduled arrival of the American president to Cape Coast has set the famous Ogua township ablaze, with the Oguaa Traditional Council banning funeral activities in the area in preparation for the visit.

The chiefs and people of Cape Coast are expected to hold a brief durbar in honour of Mr Obama and wife Michelle Saturday.

“They would visit the palace of the Oguaa Omanhene, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, who would sit in state with his sub-chiefs to receive the American First Family. The chiefs would honour Mrs Obama with the title of a queen. Afterward, they would visit the Cape Coast Castle,” the Communications Director at the Presidency, Mr Koku Anyidoho is quoted as having said in the state-owned media.

The American First Family would also visit the palace of the Oguaa Omanhene, while Mrs Obama will be ‘installed’ a queen (who traces her ancestry to West Africa). Afterward, they would visit the Cape Coast Castle.

Join our Newsletter