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Former diplomat K.B. Asante has cautioned Ghanaians against treating former President John Dramani Mahama like a “vagabond” in connection with his initial request to keep his official residence as his ex gratia.
According to the senior citizen, Mr Mahama has been president of the country and should be treated with respect.
Speaking on 12Live on Class 91.3FM on Wednesday January 11, Mr Asante noted that the former president’s latest decision to withdraw his request to keep the house was because of unsavoury remarks made about him following his request.
“He (Mahama) has withdrawn because of what is being done. He is a proud man and I don’t like some of the comments being made. Some of them are silly and I think it’s not good. He respects himself. I will, if I have somewhere to go, leave the place. In Ghana, we should know how we talk, whether you like it or not he was president of Ghana and we shouldn’t treat him like a vagabond who wants to keep what does not belong to him,” he told news anchor Nabil Ahmed Rufai.
He further called on government to arrange temporary accommodation for Mr Mahama until the state completes the construction of his retirement home.
“Arrange temporary accommodation for him while the constitutional requirement of providing a house for him is met. But I don’t see why since he’s been living there all this while, even if the government says no, they can say ‘live there until we get a proper house for you’.”
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 allow Mr Mahama to continue staying in the property, 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.