Chief of Staff – President’s annual leave is overdue

BY: Vicky Wireko

He looks well and even much stronger than when he was the opposition leader and had a bit more time on his hands.  The stresses of the office of a President are not telling on him, I thought.  

And so when on March 29 I heard that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was celebrating his 74th birthday, my initial reaction was for him to slow down a bit as age is fast catching up with him.  I thought it was now time for him to take his overdue vacation.  He needs to go and unwind with his beloved Rebecca as he prefers to address her.

I have followed the President closely since he was sworn in on January 7, 2017.  For good 15 months, he has been on his feet and on the move without a break. 

Annual holiday

Yet, the little I know of Human Resource practice, employees, including the chief executive officer (CEO), should not work continuously for 12 months or more without taking annual leave. Company medical doctors even preach against it.  It is not a healthy practice.  And so I am pleading with the Chief of Staff, Mrs Frema Osei Opare, to kindly approve the leave form of the President and let him take some annual holiday.  Ghana Incorporated cannot afford to have its CEO overworking himself.

Soon after he was sworn in, the President started his “thank you” tours.  He travelled across the country to show his appreciation to the 53.8 per cent  voters who brought him and his party to power.  He quickly put his ministerial team together, formed his cabinet and pronto, he hit the ground running.  As he himself said, he is in a hurry to fix Ghana.

In between all that, he was hit by disturbances from some so-called party vigilante groups across the country.  They gave him sleepless nights with seizures of public facilities here and there. Those actions no doubt watered down the goodwill he was enjoying from the populace.  Thankfully, he was not fazed by any of that.

Local and overseas travels

The President has continued to criss-cross the country non-stop.  From the north to the south, he has been launching one project or the other, attending school events and anniversaries and gracing other occasions.  He has not limited his travels to Ghana alone.

He has held meetings in some countries in West Africa and crossed over to other parts of Africa.  He has continued to Europe, America and Asia within the 15 months he has been in power, sometimes touching three countries at a go.  In February for example, we were told that the President went over to Togo to arbitrate in the political impasse that had hit the country since last August.  He continued to America and Germany.  He has covered incredible number of air miles; expended time and energy given the fact that for each of the countries visited, he was there on busy schedules and engagements.

Though it may not be telling on him because his fitness trainers are doing an excellent job and the First Lady is making sure he eats only what is necessary, we need for him to take some rest.  Madam Chief of Staff should send him on leave at a time that he has so much energy to enjoy a well-deserved rest. 

Peduase Lodge

Luckily, he would not have to worry about handing over.  With an able and affable Vice-President and 110 ministers firmly in place, taking over and executing the agenda of the day should not be a problem.  Need we remind the President that he does not need to go to Dubai to enjoy a much-deserved rest?  Our backdoor Peduase Lodge should be a good enough hiding place to unwind.  How I wish after successfully renaming the seat of government as Jubilee House, Peduase would have followed as the presidential vacation home.

Elsewhere, heads of state, presidents and/or prime ministers have their official vacation homes where they take time off to go and unwind.  In the United Kingdom (UK) the prime minister has the Chequers, America’s President has Camp David, the Queen of England has five, including Balmoral and Sandringham. 

With Peduase as the base, we can send him for a day or two to the famous crocodile sanctuaries in Paga, or to Nzulezu in the Western Region, Joy FM’s recent holiday discovery.  The Minister of Tourism would be overjoyed with a gargantuan tourism ambassador.

All things aside, the recent health scare of the Vice-President should remain fresh in our minds.  We should not stretch our President to the extent of 15 months and beyond without an official break seeing his heavy workload, be it weekdays or weekends.  We see him gracing all kinds of social events on weekends when his appointees are enjoying relaxing weekends.

As a concerned Ghanaian, I wish to respectfully appeal to the Chief of Staff to grant the President his annual vacation.  On his return, we should do same for the Vice-President too.


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