Presidency relocates to Flagstff House

BY: Abigail Bonsu

Flagstaff House - Now houses government businessThe Presidency has officially relocated to the Flagstaff House.

President John Dramani Mahama has relocated the seat of government from the Castle, Osu to the Flagstaff House.

"Henceforth, all major operations and the day-to-day activities of the presidency will be taking place here at the Flagstaff House," President Mills said at a ceremony to mark the event in Accra Thursday.

It marked the end of decades of running presidential activities from the Castle.

A short ceremony with prayers, dedication and benediction by the clergy was held to officially usher President Mahama to his new office at Kanda.

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The dedication prayers were led by Rev Dr Frimpong-Manso of the Assemblies of God Church, while the benediction was delivered by Rev Sam Korankye-Ankrah. The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu gave the closing prayer.

The ceremony was attended by former President Jerry John Rawlings; the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood; the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen Peter Augustine Blay; the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Alhassan; the National Security Advisor, Brigadier Gen Joseph Nunoo Mensah; the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani, and the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Kwabena Adjei.

In his remarks, President Mahama recalled that when the NDC came to power in 2009 under the leadership of President John Evans Atta Mills, the security appraisal indicated that the Flagstaff House was not safe for the President.

He said when he (President Mahama) assumed office this year, he set up a committee chaired by Commodore Steve Obimpe to assess the state of the Flagstaff House and make recommendations.

The President said the committee identified some defects, including leakages, which were fixed while the security situation was improved.

President Mahama said the committee recommended that the seat of government could be relocated to the Flagstaff while steps were taken to sort out the security issues.

He said, the committee had indicated that the presidential residency would be ready within the next three months, and stated that he would move to the residency as soon work on it was completed.

However, he said, some activities would continue to take place at the Castle while awaiting the relocation of staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to their new building.

The President said the Castle and the Asomdwe Park (the burial place of President Mills) would be opened to the public.

He said the Castle was a store house of the history of Ghana's presidency, and that opening it up would expose the people to the history of the country's presidency.

The Flagstaff House is a presidential palace in Accra which previously served as a residence and office to Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. 

It was reconstructed and inaugurated with the name Golden Jubilee House in November 2008 when construction was about 70% - 80% complete.

In January 2009, the government of President Mills maintained the Osu Castle as the presidency.

He later changed the name of the building to the Flagstaff House because he was of the view that the Kufuor administration did not use a legislative instrument to effect the change of name from Flagstaff House to the Jubilee House as required by law.

Story by Musah Yahaya Jafaru