The Minister for Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has slammed critics who say the government is prioritizing trivial issues like the renaming of the presidency rather than addressing the major issues bedevilling the country.
According to him, changing the name of the seat of government from Flagstaff House to Jubilee House, was equally important as it indicates the sovereignty of the country.
The government has been criticized by a section of the public and some opposition parties over its decision on Thursday to rename the seat of government Jubilee House.
But according to the Minister of Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Jubilee House identity is necessary for freeing Ghana from colonial heritage.
“Will you say let’s continue to live in the slave dungeon at the Christiansburg castle and that there are more important things for us to do than seeking to remove ourselves from our colonial heritage?…. Everything is important including who you are. Who you are is very important so naming this place as Jubilee House is very important in defining our identity as a free people. Everything rises and falls on identity. It is not true that is not important,” he said.
The seat of government was re-built in 2008 during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) John Agyekum Kufuor.
The edifice which serves as the office for the president of Ghana was financed and constructed by the Indian government with $135 million in 2009.
After its construction, it was named the Golden Jubilee House when Ghana was celebrating 50 years since independence, until the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, came into power in 2009.
Mills moved the office of the president back to the Osu Castle and later changed the sign in front of the building back to its original name, claiming that the previous government had not used a Legislative Instrument to effect the change as required by law.
He was criticized by many who said the name Flagstaff House, which was given to the building by the British Gold Coast government, glorifies Ghana’s colonial past.
Akufo-Addo gets $1m India money to renovate Jubilee House
The Indian government in August 2017 donated an amount of $1 million dollars to the Akufo-Addo government for the renovation of the edifice.
The donation was made by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar who paid a courtesy call on President Nana Akufo-Addo on the occasion of India’s 70th independence anniversary.
Renaming a ‘diversionary tactic’
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has described the decision to change the name of the seat of government from Flagstaff House to Jubilee House as a diversionary tactic from the Akufo-Addo administration.
The NDC, in a statement, urged Ghanaians not to lose sight of the fight against the ratification of the controversial defence cooperation agreement between Ghana and the US.
The deal has had some Ghanaians expressing fears that the US Army has been granted permission to establish a military base, though both parties to the agreement have sought to dispell such concerns.
“…this renaming gimmick is intended to be a cheap diversionary tactic from the overwhelming demand from Ghanaians for President Akufo-Addo to stop mortgaging our sovereignty for a pittance,” the NDC stated.