Former President John Dramani Mahama has paid tribute to his vice – while in office – Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur as the latter was laid to rest on Friday.
In his tribute as captured in the funeral brochure, Mr Mahama described the demise of Mr Amissah-Arthur as “tragic” and “shocking”.
According to him, his “comrade and friend” was not expressive but down-to-earth “and his practical disposition always shone through every contribution he made in cabinet or any of the numerous strategy meetings we attended”.
Though Mr Mahama served as president without a vice between July 24, 2012 and August 5, 2012, he enjoyed the contribution of Mr Amissah-Arthur as his vice from August 6, 2012 until the two left office on January 7, 2017.
“Our period of work together was a very eventful one,” stated Mr Mahama. “We shared the anxiety of awaiting the verdict of the election petition together, we carried the burden of the energy crisis together.”Read John Mahama’s full tribute below:
Tragic and shocking are the only words I can find to describe the sudden demise of my comrade and friend, former Vice President of our Republic, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.
l was away in Germany when the news of his demise reached me. It started as a rumour on several WhatsApp platforms, and the short period spent wishing the information reaching me was untrue comprised some of the longest minutes I have ever experienced. It was gutwrenching when eventually his son, Kwesi, confirmed the worst. Of course, I cut short my programme to return home to console Matilda and the family.
Yes, today all of us family, friends, party comrades, well-wishers and the nation are united in grief at his passing. Our hearts reach out at this time to Matilda and the children, and also his aged mother.
Paa Kwesi was not a very expressive person, but his down-to-earth nature and his practical disposition always shone through every contribution he made in cabinet or any of the numerous strategy meetings we attended.
Anyone who got close to him was immediately struck by the outstanding qualities that Kwesi embodied: his unconditional kindness his love for both Ghana and humanity, humility and his unquestionable integrity. He used his knowledge, wisdom and well-mannered attributes to resolve problems to fix that which was broken and to unify many people.
One quality that set Paa Kwesi apart was service. He served his country, his party and the world in many different capacities, and he distinguished himself in every one of them.
Whether as an academic lecturing in Ghana and abroad; as an economist and consultant for the World Bank, the Governments of the Netherlands and Denmark among others; or as a politician, he excelled in them all.
As the typically humble and action-over-words-oriented person that he was, he was not boastful of his accomplishments. He was practical, not theoretical. He simply let his work and his achievements speak for him. This is why when certain questions were directed at him in the heat of the campaign, he said to me, ”Mr. President, these questions are frivolous. We will not be distracted by them.”
Today, Paa Kwesi stands vindicated.
Paa Kwesi’s contribution to our party was admirable. Indeed, he served diligently as Ghana’s longest serving Deputy Secretary and later Deputy Minister for Finance under the PNDC and NDC administrations of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
My working relationship with Paa Kwesi took firm roots when he was Governor of the Bank of Ghana, during which period I was Head of the Economic Management Team under our late President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills. It was during this period that I, just like many others, came to appreciate Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur’s razor-sharp intellect and noted how his deep intelligence and knowledge of practical matters could lead to the fast-track realisation of sustainable social and economic prosperity for all our people.
It came as no surprise that, as we all worked together, Ghana achieved the record of being the fastest growing economy in the world, with inflation pegged at a single digit for one of the longest periods in our nation’s history. It is a record that has stood till this day.
In the difficult the period following the passing of Prof in 2012, I needed an experienced technocrat to support me to govern the nation. Paa Kwesi emerged as a worthy partner and he approached his work with remarkable expertise, knowledge, hard-work and loyalty.
Our period of work together was a very eventful one. We shared the anxiety of awaiting the verdict of the election petition together, we carried the burden of the energy crisis together.
He was the moving spirit behind the Senchi Consensus, together with our beloved comrade the late P.V. Obeng. The Senchi Forum produced our homegrown fiscal consolidation policy and became the foundation of the lMF’s Extended Credit Facility Program, which is still operational today.
It is a testament to his resplendent legacy that following the resolution of a crippling energy crisis, Paa Kwesi helped to ensure that our economy was on such a strong footing that the World Bank and IMF predicted, in 2016, that due to the solid foundation established, Ghana was in the year 2017 and beyond going to be one of the fastest growing economy in Africa.
Paa Kwesi was a quintessential gentleman, he was a very focused person, a disciplined man but he could never resist the opportunity“; have a good laugh with friends and loved ones, He had a jovial relationship with Lordina and they both poked fun at each other whenever they met.
As the immediate pair behind the Wheel of the NDC vehicle, we were both actively involved in the reorganization of the party. Before his passing, Paa Kwesi actively monitored and participated in the just ended NDC constituency elections. He had deep love for our party and was ever present at our regular Council of Elders meetings.
Indeed, the best memorial we can give him, is a united Ghana with shared economic opportunity and social justice for all. We must all work hard across party lines to accomplish this dream.
Ghana has lost a hard-to-replace illustrious son, and I have lost a good friend and comrade.
To Matilda, the children and the entire family, ”…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27.
Rest well, Paa Kwesi.