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‘Expensive toy for His Majesty’ – How Akufo-Addo mocked JJ over presidential jet



• Government recently announced plans for a new presidential jet

• Akufo-Addo has been accused of chartering luxurious jets despite the availability of an official jet

• Parliamentary records show that he had opposed the purchase of a jet in 2000 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in early 2000 was an ardent critic of the then National Democratic Congress government’s plan to purchase a new presidential jet.

As the Member of Parliament representing the Abuakwa Constituency, Akufo-Addo made a submission on the floor of the house stating reasons why the jet was certainly a low item on the list of pressing national priorities.

He also had some adjectives for the Gulfstream GIII jet that was eventually purchased by the Jerry John Rawlings government. He described it as an “expensive toy” at one point in his submission and a “low priority item.”

Whiles stressing the economic reasons for which the NDC government ought to have known better than splash $19 million on a jet, he mocked the Majority of being unable to reject a demand from “all-powerful President, Jerry John Rawlings and his comforts.”

On Rawlings himself, Akufo-Addo accused him of wanting to buy a jet despite being in the twilight of his presidency before ‘conferring’ on him the title of ‘His majesty.’

“…Mr. Speaker, by the grace of His Excellency, the all-powerful President. Soon we shall be calling him His Majesty in this House, Mr. Speaker — at his grace. Mr. Speaker, we are saying that this transaction is a most unsatisfactory one,” he concluded his submission.

The views of Akufo-Addo were contained in a Parliamentary record of proceeding shared by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa in his latest campaign against luxurious presidential travels and move to acquire a new jet.

Read Ablakwa’s full post below:

Time they say is no one’s friend. It appears principle and consistency are such rare commodities.

Find below, an extract from Nana Akufo-Addo’s debate contribution in Parliament some 21 years ago when President Rawlings initiated steps to purchase Ghana’s third Presidential Jet – the Gulfstream GIII.

“Nana Akufo-Addo (NPP — Abuakwa): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate. It is good to see that the Minister and his spin-doctor, the Minister of Communications, are both here to listen to us on this matter. Mr. Speaker, I intend to limit my intervention to two main issues.

“Already, my hon. colleague, the Member for Offinso North (Dr. K.K. Apraku), has, in his usual powerful presentation, alerted us to the sensitivity of this transaction; that at a time when there is a crying need for greater public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when the students are crying for an increase of public expenditure on tertiary education, they are met with a cry that there is no money but the President is entitled to have spent for himself $19million over the next five years on this aircraft.

“Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need that has been consistently urged from this side of the House for us to review and prioritise public expenditure, this case justifies that call. I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that if the priorities are spelt out properly, the purchase of an Executive jet will come very low down on the scale of priorities.

“…Mr. Speaker, we have to express our displeasure at the manner in which the powers of this House have been subverted. Mr. Speaker, when we are saying these things, I know that in a matter of a jet, it is an emotional matter for Members of the Majority, especially since it concerns their all-powerful President, Jerry John Rawlings and his comforts.

“…Mr. Speaker, the public interest has not benefited from this transaction; constitutional government has not benefited from this transaction. The conduct is one that is reprehensible and however difficult the Majority may find it to deny the President this latest expensive toy that he seeks in the sunset of his career, the public interest is not served by this transaction. And Mr. Speaker, we are going to call upon the House and our colleagues in the Majority to join us in rejecting this transaction.

“…Mr. Speaker, by the grace of His Excellency, the all powerful President. Soon we shall be calling him His Majesty in this House, Mr. Speaker — at his grace. Mr. Speaker, we are saying that this transaction is a most unsatisfactory one.”

Parliamentary Debates (Official Report)

Fourth Series; Vol. 24; No. 21

Tuesday, 15th February, 2000.

Columns: 1653,1654,1682 & 1683.

Ablakwa’s campaign against luxurious presidential travels, new jet 

Ablakwa has been at the forefront of demands for transparency in travels of the president relative to cost and the lack of usage thereof of the presidential jet for overseas trips.

He has in the last three months revealed that three foreign trips by the president to Europe were aboard luxury jets chartered for as long as he was away. He said the travels had cost Ghana in excess of 10 million cedis.