Residence of Ghana’s Ambassador in Beijing left to rot

Author: Edmund Smith-Asante, From Beijing, China
The rear view of the residency showing the maize
The rear view of the residency showing the maize

THE official residence of Ghana’s Ambassador in Beijing, China, has been left to rot after over a decade of neglect by previous heads of the mission.

 

About three previous ambassadors rented apartments outside the embassy instead of living in the residence provided in the compound of the embassy for the ambassador, either because they believed it did not befit their status or that it was not in a preferred location.

As a result, the bungalow-sized apartment, together with its fittings such as electrical wiring and furnishings such as cabinets, settees, carpets, cupboards and other wood works, has been left to rot. Even the painting and plastering work on the building are in disrepair.

The Daily Graphic found on a visit to the property that the huge compound, which can be used to host receptions, has also been converted into a maize farm by the Chinese caretaker in order to control weeds around the facility.

For the past years, Ghana’s Beijing Mission has had to invite members of the diplomatic corps and other foreign dignitaries to rented hotels and other public places to mark significant national days or celebrations.

The compound of the abandoned residency overgrown with weeds.

Years of neglect

Ghana’s current Ambassador to China, Mr Edward Boateng, who expressed dismay at the years of neglect and the high cost incurred by the government in renting apartments for Ghana’s ambassadors, says already there are plans to either renovate the residence or build a new one depending on the cost involved, after an assessment has been made.

“Why should the residency of a country such as Ghana be abandoned? And that is what I call the discipline of purpose and for me that is the first thing that we really need to focus on,” he told the Daily Graphic.

“If the President gives me the opportunity to stay here for three years, I can assure you that we will have a new residence and this mission will be different because we are working on it and we are not going to rest. It is one of the legacies I want to leave,” he pledged.

Paint peeling off from the building.

New diplomatic enclave

Mr Boateng disclosed that the embassy had already applied for land in the fourth enclave, which is a new diplomatic enclave in Beijing, and it had been assured that land would be provided.

He said although the size of land that would be released to the Ghanaian embassy was not yet known, he was sure that there would be enough space to build a bigger mission or even build good apartments for staff who are currently also renting apartments in town.

Mr Boateng was optimistic that the embassy would soon finalise its plans for a new ambassador’s residence.

He told the Daily Graphic: “I have visited a few ambassadors and when you go to their house, it represents their country and I think Ghana in Beijing is the mission and the residence and definitely we are going to change it.”