President John Mahama's acceptance of a Ford Expedition gift by a Burkinabe contractor is a "remarkable spectacle", which casts a slur on his personal integrity, Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of Ghana's biggest opposition party, has said.
Speaking at the International Young Democrat Union's (IYDU) Freedom Forum 2016 in Accra on Friday June 24, about how the current government has been enmeshed in corruption and mismanagement of the economy, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) told the audience: "I'm sure you have been here following the remarkable spectacle of our president, who has been given a $100,000 gift by a contractor and the issues that it has raised about conflict of interest, about personal integrity, code of conduct of public officers. And this is within a context where there have been persistent and many instances of proven allegations of widespread corruption in President Mahama's government."
Mr Akufo-Addo, who is trying for the third time to win the presidency, after failing twice in 2008 and 2012, said: "We [NPP] are saying to the Ghanaian people in this  election that not only do we believe that a higher quality of government is necessary for us…but that the management of the national economy that we have witnessed in these last seven or eight years have been, if you like, nothing short of disastrous," the former Attorney General said.
Mr Mahama's benefactor, Djibril Kanazoe, gifted the car to him in 2012. He was, in turn, given a series of contracts by the government of Ghana. Opposition parties and anti-graft bodies have said the gift compromised the president. The presidency has, however, denied such assertions. A statement by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, said the car was added to the pool of vehicles at the Flagstaff House and was neither used by the president nor anybody close to him. Mr Mahama himself has dared his critics to use constitutional procedures to have the matter probed if they had any evidence to back their claim of conflict of interest and bribery against him. He recently told a group of clergymen that: "I don't use Ford. I don't like American cars. I use Japanese cars. Toyota is my car."
On his Accounting to the People tour in Tema on Wednesday June 22, Mr Mahama said the accusations against him were "baseless", adding that peddling such rumours would not guarantee victory for the NPP in the elections, which are five months away. "Elections are about telling the people what you want to do for them, and, so, I am going round and telling the people what I intend to do. And, so, if you think you can do better, you also go to the people and say what you will do if you are elected. But when you have no message and you stick to allegations of corruption, baseless. The Constitution prescribed what should be done if a person is corrupt. I have been president of this country and if you believe I have been involved in corruption, you have the constitutional means to do what you want to do. But when you make baseless rumours and allegations, it won’t win you the presidency," Mr Mahama said.