It is indeed said that, a nation that does not honour its heroes is certainly not worth dying for. But as to whether,giving them huge ex- gratia is an honour or not needs to be considered.
It is indeed an honour and a privilege to get over 50percent of the population endorsing one to serve as president. In our fourth Republican era, Ghana has had four former heads of state. These four gentlemen have contributed significantly and immensely towards our growth and development agenda. It may not be out of place for the country to cater for all their needs after they have exited the highest office of the land.
One thing that surprises me the most about the end service benefits of our former heads of state is, the controversies that have always surrounded their accommodation component of their ex- gratia.
From President Rawlings Ridge residence, to the rejection of an accommodation by president Kufuor and the recent brouhaha over President Mahama’s residence.
Just as I already indicated ,it makes sense to cater for our former presidents , it is indeed an honour but as to whether this is a befitting honour or not needs careful consideration.
For an individual to rise to occupy the highest office of the land means such a person has excelled in a chosen field and by extension capable of providing for his or her basic needs including accommodation.
As a country, it is time we reconsider our way of honouring our former presidents. We need to think of a way of keeping their legacies rather than spending so much on ex- gratia and giving them houses which they can comfortably afford.
Posterity needs to remember Chairman Rawlings for his charismatic style of leadership, his open outburst against corruption, his infrastructural drive , his extension of electricity to the rural villages and many others.
Posterity must always have a means of remembering the legacies of the gentle spoken President Kufuor, his social intervention programs, economic transformation among others.
Generation yet unborn must appreciate that, there was once a humble president who always addressed Ghanaians as his brothers and sisters, a president who contributed significantly to improve wages and salaries of our public sector workers, a leader who contributed significantly to our economic transformation. Posterity needs to know President Mills.
We need to realise that , we once had a leader who invested hugely in infrastructure and believed that ,the best way for private sector growth was to ensure that, there was an enabling environment in terms of good roads, access to education by all, access to health care among others. Posterity must remember President Mahama.
Instead of paying “fat” ex- gratia as a way of honouring them. We may as well consider putting up libraries in their honour where their writings, life stories, philosophies, contributions to national and global development can be accessed.
For me, the best way to honour them will be to keep their legacies and memories .
The development of Ghana has been engineered by the vision of many presidents but sadly besides Nkrumah, who among these men have their legacies being trumpeted?
Let us honour our leaders by keeping their memories and legacies.
God bless our homeland Ghana.

 

Ohene- Ntow Vincent
YALI fellow
Masters degree student in development policy and planning.
E-mail: vincentntow12@gmail.com