The call by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) for President John Mahama to step down following his controversial acceptance of a $100,000 Ford Expedition car gift from a Burkinabe contractor is disgraceful, Deputy Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Fred Agbenyo has said.
Revelations emerged this week of Mr Mahama receiving the present from Mr Djibril Kanazoe in October 2012, following investigations conducted by Joy FM’s Manasseh Azure Awuni. The Burkinabe was, in turn, given a series of contracts by the Government of Ghana, including a $650,000 deal to fence a tract of land around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso, after he had parted with the SUV.
On Friday June 17, however, the PPP, at a press conference addressed by its chairman, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, said the president would be better served standing down as leader and giving up his ambition to seek the mandate of Ghanaians for a second four-year term
"The President should admit his inability to lead the anti-corruption crusade and therefore refuse to contest for re-election on the ticket of the NDC," he said, adding: "We are asking him to step aside so that investigations can go on as in the case of Richard Anane...when he is absolved, he can come back..."
But speaking on Accra News on Friday, Mr Agbenyo disagreed, saying there was nothing wrong with the president’s action, especially as he had put the gift at the disposal of the state.
“What is the president’s crime? That someone has offered him a gift and he says, ‘I give it to Ghanaians to use for the state’s benefit’? What is the crime in that…? Is the president one who cannot a Ford Expedition?” he asked.
Mr Agbenyo added that even some top politicians who ought to know better had “cheapened” themselves as a result of the shameful politicisation of the matter all in the name of politics and in their desire to throw muck at the president, explaining that it was not unusual for presidents to be given gifts when visited by dignitaries or on state visits, after which the items presented were lodged with the state.
“Aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you feel any bit embarrassed? Do they think they are dragging the name of the president in the mud [with their action]?” Mr Agbenyo asked of the PPP and persons making an issue out of the car gift to the president.