Opinion: Our leaders and a sense of decency

Pardon my folly but I don’t get it! Did I wake up from a coma? What is happening here? Why does the ex-President John Mahama want to keep the Vice Presidential lodge? Why did it even cross his mind? Why did Julius Debrah write that letter making the request?

Is it that Mr. Debrah and his team do not read public sentiments? Or he’s just being dumb? Is President Mahama saying that prior to becoming Vice President, he didn’t have a home in Accra? Or he rented it for some dollars?

Is it a case of President Akufo-Addo, in anticipation of a scenario where he also needs his back scratched, seeking to please his predecessor? Or it was one of the conditions for the latter’s concession in the December polls.

Why did Nana Addo oblige to such an insensitive request? It makes one cringe. Whose idea was this one? It is certainly not in the public interest. It falls flat in the face of any decency test in our current national order.

Eight years ago, people’s cars were seized, others were being pursued to vacate state bungalows and those who had paid for properties were asked to let go of them because they paid what was deemed a pittance for them. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey of blessed memory, had to fight for ownership of a state property he paid for in court for years. When the courts ruled in his favour, assigns of the ex-president subjected him to attacks until his passing.

All of a sudden, they find nothing wrong with asking the state to bequeath its lodge for the second gentleman of the land to a former president. What happens to the Vice President then? Rent him a place or build him a prefabricated home? What if he also grows fond of it to keep it after his term in office?

A terrible precedent would be set if this request is granted. We will get a president who will demand to remain in the Flagstaff house, and what will we say? No? That won’t be fair when John Mahama’s wish was granted.

Mr Mahama must be told in plain words that he’s not the only one who has been president before, therefore cannot be given the Vice Presidential Lodge. Let us maintain the sanctity of the presidency and let decency prevail.

Days before the handing over, we saw photos on social media suggesting the President had cleared his desk to make way for the President-elect. Two days after he’s sworn in, we are told the ex-President will be homeless. If he really does not own a home, let him find a place to rent. Paying two years advance to a landlord/lady for a place in Cantonments would even have the helpful benefit of helping him properly assess some aspects of his legacy.

Young people who leave school are required to pay huge sums of money in rent advance. Government knows about this clear breach of the law but turns a blind eye to it. This scourge, leaves many people in squalor, not because they want to but because the law has failed to ensure no home seeker pays two years advance to opportunistic home owners.

I’m sure that the former President’s brother who distributes cars like toffees can find his brother a decent accommodation until the State is able to provide him a befitting abode. That in my humble view, should be the way to go to save the former president further embarrassment.

The public reaction is overwhelming and I’m sure both the President and his predecessor have the signals boldly written on the wall. They must not tread that road because it leads nowhere. The President will let the voting populace down by yielding to this obviously arm-twisting move to keep Dr. Bawumia away from his official residence. If this is Mahama’s way of cementing his disdain towards Bawumia for his questions, we’ve read through the lines and believe the President wouldn’t serve us well by granting him the property.

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