The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has questioned the morality of providing retirement homes for ex-Presidents as part of the luxury perks given former Presidents.
He asked why government should commit the state purse into building homes for all former Presidents and assume such burden at the cost of the tax payer when former leaders can build their own homes with their resources.
“The principle position is that we should not be building homes for former Presidents,” Pratt told host Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM.
Former President John Dramani Mahama has withdrawn his earlier request to keep his official residence as part of his retirement package.
He explained that the requests to maintain his current place of residence, No. 3 Prestige Link, Cantonments and his proposed office, No. 6, 3rd Avenue , Ridge, all in Accra as part of his retirement package have threatened the relationships between the current New Patriotic Party government and his former government, hence his decision to rescind his interest.
“It would appear that these requests threaten to mar the spirit of cooperation with which we as co-chairs of the joint transition team have managed the smooth transfer of power from my administration to yours. I believe that this controversy is absolutely not needed in these early days as the government settles into office,” Mr Mahama wrote.
Commenting on the development, Mr Pratt argued that it is critical to scrap what he described as the expensive, resource draining practice of providing homes for every past leader of the country.
For him, if the ordinary man can toil to build for himself a home, then there is no justification for Presidents to be provided houses and such luxurious entitlements.
“The living condition of a President is far better than a taxi driver. So if a security guard, chop bar operator, trotro driver and the rest could build their own houses, then why should the state offer to build Presidents houses who are indeed far better in their living conditions than these individuals. I can’t understand why we should bring such a burden on us as a people. The path that we’ve chosen for ourselves will have a far reaching consequences on our nation
“Our leaders should understand that their living conditions should not be superfluous than the ordinary man. They should be able to take decisions that will profit the masses. We should be thinking about affordable houses not private homes for our former Presidents.”