The John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library, a memorial and research facility in Cape Coast, has been closed down for lack of funds to run it. Currently, the University of Cape Coast (UCC), which is responsible for the administration of the library, has not been able to pay the water and electricity bills of the facility.
To make matters worse, the contractor who worked on the project is said to have locked up the place and taken the keys away, denying the university access to the two-storey building situated opposite the Cape Coast Castle.
The huge gate at the entrance had been shut, with only one security man at post.
Due to its proximity to the sea, portions of the facility had started decaying.
President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the library on July 24, 2016 to coincide with the anniversary of the death of President Mills.
The library has a 100-capacity auditorium, 45-seater multi-media centre, seminar rooms and a museum that holds historical materials that reflect the life and works of the late President.
The edifice also has a virtual sound room that echoes the voice of Prof. Mills in his memorable speeches and images that bring to life his sojourn as a celebrated academic, keen sportsman, humble politician, devout Christian, servant leader, President and peace-loving Ghanaian.
Although not a typical book library, the facility will preserve and make available the papers, records, collections and historical materials of President Mills and other prominent African intellectuals and political leaders.
The facility is expected to be managed by the UCC Libraries and its research events coordinated by the university’s Faculty of Arts, with support from the Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy of the UCC.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, told the Daily Graphic that when the facility was handed over to the university, a few things were not in place.
“So we demanded that those things must be put in place and they were done. But when it was eventually handed over to us, there was no budget for it,” he said.
Prof. Ampiah said the electricity meter at the facility was prepaid, but all efforts to change it to postpaid had not been successful, as the District Office of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) declined the proposal.
He said at one point the university wanted to use the facility for a day’s programme and the ECG demanded that it pay GH¢300 for that period.
The Vice-Chancellor said he had a discussion with the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who agreed that there must be a budget line for the edifice.
“The library in memory of the late President is a good idea, but sincerely the university cannot run it,” he said.
Prof. Ampiah said even as the facility was not being used, the university last month received a water bill of GH¢3,000.