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Former President John Mahama’s letter to President Nana Akufo-Addo in which he withdrew his earlier interest to keep a state bungalow as part of his retirement package has got Ghanaians wondering as to why he would copy Asante monarch Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Ghanaians have been asking questions on social media about Mr Mahama's decision to officially copy the Asantehene on the matter.
In the letter, Mr Mahama said in part that: “I refer to our agreement on the above subject matter and wish to inform you that I have decided to formally withdraw both requests to continue to stay at my current place of residence No.3. Prestige Link Cantonment and also to use bungalow No.6 3rd Avenue Ridge, as my office.”
“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. I do recognise that these are facilities that are conventionally extended to presidents that leave office and I am also mindful of the approval by the parliament of the republic of Ghana on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at its 22nd sitting of the third meeting of the 4th session.
“You would recall, Mr President that contrary to the erroneous impression created by some persons in government and the interpretation given to the former letter submitted on my behalf by Mr Julius Debrah, this was a follow-up to an agreement we had on my choice of accommodation and office. I had never requested to purchase the property; my request is, therefore, humbly withdrawn,” Mr Mahama added.
Per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Mr Mahama was supposed to vacate the property a day before the investiture of President Nana Akufo-Addo. His failure to do so caused huge controversy.
While the outgone government’s side of the transition team said it reached an agreement with the new president’s team to remain there, the new government said there was no such deal.
The leader of the new government’s side of the transition team, Yaw Osafo Marfo, told journalists: "We have not approved of his request, and I want to repeat we have received the request and the requests are two – for him to be given as his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office".
Mr Mahama’s critics say his earlier quest to keep the property was unlawful.
It is not clear if the agreement Mr Mahama referred to in his letter was reached in the presence of Otumfuo Osei Tutut II or whether his decision to move out of the property was facilitated by the Asante overlord, thus, his decision to copy him.