The relocation of the seat of government from the Castle, Osu, to Flagstaff House on Thursday and the semi-final loss of the Black Stars to the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition in South Africa were some of the stories highlighted in the Ghanaian media this week.
The Castle, which was initially called the Christiansborg Castle, was built by the Danes in 1659 and rehabilitated and used as the seat of government by the British who were Ghana’s colonial masters.
It served as the nation’s seat of government, having been occupied by all the country’s former leaders, with the exception of President Kwame Nkrumah, who used the Flagstaff House.
The government of President John Agyekum Kufuor rebuilt the Flagstaff House into a mighty seat of government but did not move in before his party was defeated in an election in 2008 by the late President John Evans Atta Mills and the National Democratic Congress.
However, the late president continued to run the business of government from the Castle and reside there because the construction of the Flagstaff House was a misplaced priority.
The headline of the state-owned Graphic on the story read: “Prez relocates to Flagstaff House”.
It said President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday relocated the seat of government from the Castle, Osu, to the Flagstaff House, to end decades of running government’s activities from the Castle.
It said a short ceremony with prayers, dedication and benediction by the clergy was held to officially usher President Mahama to his new office.
The President recalled that when the NDC came to power in 2009, under the leadership of the late President Mills, the security appraisal indicated that the Flagstaff House was not safe for the President.
He said when he assumed office after his electoral victory in 2012, a committee to assess the state of the building identified some defects, including leakages, which were fixed while the security situation was improved.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times ran the story under the headline “Govt relocates to Flagstaff House”.
It said President Mahama on Thursday conducted government business from there following a historic ceremony to mark the relocation of the seat of government.
The newspaper said by fulfilling his promise of occupying the multi-million-dollar edifice, put up by the Kufuor Administration, President Mahama had closed one chapter of the nation’s history and opened a new one as far as Ghana’s presidential palaces were concerned.
The late president Mills used the place on an ad-hoc basis mainly receiving the credentials of accredited envoys to Ghana, the Times said.
"Fans disappointed by Stars loss,” was the headline of a story in the Graphic after the 2-3 loss of the Black Stars to the Stallions of Burkina Faso on penalties.
The story said what was expected to be an outdoor party on Wednesday after the Ghana-Burkina Faso match turned into misery as hundreds of football fans who watched it on giant screens left disappointed after the game.
It said fans poured out their frustrations on the technical team and the players for their woeful performance, even when Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi appeared to have favoured the Stars in most of his decisions
“President consoles nation, says ‘We’ll restore Stars to glory’” was a headline of a story in the Ghanaians Times, which said following the Black Stars’ painful loss to Burkina Faso, President Mahama had assured the nation of the government’s resolve to partner the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to rebuild the team to restore it to its former glory.
Noting that the whole nation and players were crestfallen following the loss, President Mahama consoled Ghanaians, saying “in adversity comes opportunity”.
“It is high time we realised there are no longer minnows in the game of soccer these days. Government will partner the GFA in a team-rebuilding effort.”
“Fans pour venom on Gyan, Appiah, GFA,” was another headline of the Times.
It said a section of football fans has expressed disappointment that the Black Stars could not make it to the finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa and blamed Coach Kwesi Appiah, skipper and striker Asamoah Gyan and the whole team for the dismal performance at the tournament.
Some fans blamed the players because there was no urgency in their game while they said the fact that Asamoah Gyan scored only one goal in the tournament indicted strikers in the country.
A sports fan, Mr. Henry Manley-Spain, was more blunt, according to the Times, which quoted him as saying “Stars coach must resign”.
He said Coach Appiah should bow out for supervising another disappointing AFCON campaign.
He said Appiah displayed “gross incompetence” with his substitutions and failure to leave on the bench players whose performance from the start of the competition was below average yet were guaranteed starting places in all the matches.
He said it was time certain players were ignored to halt the perennial disappointments.