Defeated Mahama 'refused permission' to keep official residence

mahama Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Refusing to budge - Mr Mahama accepted election defeat but won't give up the house

Ghana's former President John Mahama has not been given permission to stay in the house he occupied while in office, an official says.

Mr Mahama's failure to vacate the house when his term ended on Saturday has caused huge controversy.

He says he reached agreement with new President Nana Akufo-Addo's team to remain there last month.

But Yaw Osafo Mafo from Mr Akufo-Addo's team said the request had been rejected, reports said.

"We have not approved of his request, and I want to repeat we have received the request and the requests are two - for him to be given his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office," Mr Mafo was quoted by the Daily Guide newspaper as saying.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Mr Mahama has been living in the residence since his days as vice-president

Mr Mahama stayed in the vice-presidential residence during his mandate.

Critics say his continued presence there is unlawful and has also left incoming Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia with nowhere to live.

Ghana's parliament passed a law in October stipulating that outgoing ministers and other government officials had three months from the date of the new president's inauguration to hand over state-owned homes or face forcible eviction.

But the law does not apply to former presidents and vice-presidents.

Home sweet home - Thomas Naadi, BBC Africa, Accra

Image copyright Alamy

The presidential villa in Ghana is a grand stool-shaped building known as Flagstaff House.

But former President Mahama did not live there, preferring to remain in the home of the vice-president - a post he held before his elevation to the presidency in 2012.

So, Flagstaff House remained vacant during his rule. Now, it is expected to be occupied by his successor, Nana Akufo-Addo, who won elections last month.

The question is: Where should the new vice-president live? As far as Mr Mahama is concerned it is not in the house he is occupying. The new government seems to disagree. Will it send the removal trucks? Watch this space.

The former president's office has dismissed the reports as "mischievous" and insisted that the last parliament had also resolved that a home and an office should be be given to Mr Mahama "in line with convention and existing precedent".

Mr Mahama's office said Mr Bawumia was instead expected to live in another building, Australia House, a government safe house previously occupied by former Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.

Mr Mahama was widely credited for accepting defeat in elections last month, rather than challenging the result.

He is among regional mediators trying to persuade The Gambia's long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh to step down after he lost elections to property develop Adama Barrow.

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