FLASHBACK! President Kufuor was decorated with The Order of the Star and Eagles by Chief Justice Georgina Wood.

Mr Andrew Awuni, former Press Secretary to ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor has said that the former president did not award himself with medals as critics made Ghanaians to believe but that he rather instituted a symbol of office for presidents of the republic.

Mr Kufuor, prior to leaving office, created the Grand Order of the Star and Eagles of Ghana Award (for Presidents of the Republic of Ghana) to honour occupiers of the highest national office – himself inclusive.

However, the creation of the award engendered heated public debates bothering on its constitutionality and why the then sitting president should nominate himself for a national award. Members of the then main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), criticised Mr Kufuor for ‘honoring himself’. Some went as far as nicknaming him ’50 Cent’. The Mills administration scrapped the award on assuming office in 2009.

Mr Awuni, who spoke on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, said though many critics saw the award as unnecessary, the ex-president only sought to establish a symbol of office.

He explained that the then main opposition party, NDC was so vociferous that they made it difficult for the government to explain issues to the people.

For example, he said, executives of many associations are given a symbol of office which is transferred to incoming executives once their term ends. A similar thing, he said, was being replicated in that instance.

“…This country, we don’t have a symbol of office that transfers from one president to the other…,” Mr Awuni stated.

“The president has a sword when he’s sworn in,” show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah pointed out. Mr Awuni however maintained that the sword is not a symbol of office. “The sword is brought out every four years when there is change of government,” he said.

The former Deputy Information Minister said many presidents around the globe have similar traditions where such awards are instituted in honour of presidents, recalling what Mr Kufuor said, that “When a president serves and is about to leave office, a replica could be made for him”.

Mr Awuni also commented on other issues bordering on his work with the former government, the nature of the country’s politics, the Mills-administration and the nation’s democracy.

He claimed he could not think of an instance during the conduct of his work when he lied. Awuni said as press secretary he only informed the public based on the information available to him.

Ya-Na murder
The former minster said the Kufuor administration was shattered by the news. He could not speak on issues before and during the period of the murder because he said he had no information on that, except allegations and rumours that were peddled in the media against the then government and some of its appointees.

However, Mr Awuni thinks the Kufuor administration put in a lot of effort to address the situation after the death of the overlord.

Kufuor’s choice of flagbearer
Mr Kufuor never told him about his choice of a flagbearer to lead the NPP and to succeed him, Andrew Awuni said, but added he suspected Kufuor did have a favourite candidate.

Speaking on the role of the youth in politics, their motivation for entering politics and politics of insults, he said; “I was actually very hopeful that the Mills administration will help us change a number of things, unfortunately it didn’t happen. I had that expectation because of their experience in government and now that they were given the opportunity to come back they would use (it) to correct some of the challenges on the political landscape…”

Awuni said he is hoping for an era when Ghana will have “enough sincere people, enough honest people who will be prepared to sanitize the political landscape in the next government.”

Otherwise, he said, “I have no hope for the life of our democracy…because very soon our political parties will be militarized…the things we hear that happen in other jurisdictions –Nigeria – they will start happening around us.”

Kufuor’s final days in office
The former spokesperson to Mr Kufuor said in his final days, the ex-president was very calm, relaxed and comforted all those around him, especially in the heat of the 2008 elections.

Source: Myjoyonline


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