My ‘Wailing Pen’ for an Economic Surgeon, late Amissah –Arthur
Tribute by Maxwell Okamafo Asamani Addo
There are two types of people who populate Ghana, those who make themselves and those who make history. History-making individuals are rare to come by. That is what my Boss late Kwesi Amissah-Arthur stood for.
On Tuesday 26th June 2018 I had interacted with you in the office at East Legon and left for an assignment. On the same Tuesday when you got home you called me to come over to the House for further discussions.
These were the words you said to me before I left. “Okamafo I know there have been challenges here and there after the 2016 general election. The loss of the election was very huge but the party is not dead even though no politician wants to lose a vote. Keep Praying and let’s work hard”.
On Wednesday 27th June we both attended the book Launch of Mummy, Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur, titled ‘My Journey’ at the Ghana Academy of Science and Arts Auditorium at CSIR.
Thursday, I was alarmed by an early call to your maker. But God knows best. I never knew you were saying good bye.
Papa, when you were alive the critics formed an army of sponsored and self-appointed anarchists so diverse; many of them were attacking you. But in the face of severe provocations you allowed political maturity to prevail.
Papa, most of them are mourning you today. When you were alive they were unrelenting, self-appointed activists, idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger; a distracted crowd who always fed on your name by attaching you to negativity for their personal interest. But you always said Okamafo leave it to God.
Especially the unintelligent people I describe as cynics who repeated silly cliches and too many intelligent persons wasted their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions when they put things like this out there. When you were alive they criticized you out of ignorance. They abused you out of mischief.
Sir, you proved to them that you were an astute politician, a clever, methodical and intelligent man, who was very adept at wrong footing all the persons who make an effort to second-guess or under-estimate you .You understood the game of politics.
As an individual who held the post of deputy finance secretary/minister for ten years (more than two terms of the current dispensation), and being in charge of the central bank during one of the longest periods of stability for our currency since independence, it baffles political level-heads why people would want to undermine your political experience.
You became a victim of similar nefarious activities by some self-made political hawks as a Vice President but you were not worried when you received your fair share of such diabolic plots.
Rather you believed in solving the problems of Ghanaians without engaging in any unnecessary controversies that may only detract you from your core mandate.
Papa, you proved to Ghanaians that politics can be played without rivalry and enmity. Today, I see them wailing. The possible shoo-ins to replace Amissah–Arthur, the man who had been largely flayed as almost bringing nothing of value to the John Mahama ticket. But even where he was flayed for not bringing value, no one ever faulted you for bringing something negative to the Mahama ticket.
If there were ever a man worthy of celebration in the context of Ghanaian history, power and politics, Papa you stand tall. I must confess that I find it difficult to write about you simply because I’ve mentioned you so many times in write-ups over the years and there is so much to say.
The moment I received the news of your ascendance, Sir, my world caved in. My heart was torn into two, one was filled with heartache and pain, and the other died with you. Sleep still eludes me.
I am, however, honored and delighted to be able to share a few words about this great and profoundly good man who was not only a former Vice President of Ghana but also a great patriot and nationalist and an outstanding elder statesman.
Ghana has lost an epitome of integrity, late Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was an icon of transparency and an epitome of integrity who lived an incorruptible life.
I can say he was one of the nation’s shining stars and a frontline statesman who demonstrated passion for the unity, progress and development of Ghana. Indeed we lost a great man, a patriot, leader par excellence and a shining star.
He was one of those that stood firmly on his principles, displayed great fidelity and commitment to his cause and showed the world that Africa has men and women of courage that are consistent, true to their word and loyal to their leaders.
There are very few of leaders in this category. Some come like a comet, only to fizzle out like the foam from a detergent, some like a temporary whirlwind, only to be still at its short surge. Late Amissah-Arthur had been on the turf before 1990, unflinching, never waning, but increasing in strength and capacity by every minute of the day.
The history of the most reputable campaign for democracy in Ghana will not be complete without chapters devoted to him.
I keep wake at nights when the world is fast asleep, through the stillness of the dark; alone I take a walk down memory lane with tear filled eyes.
Sir, it would be the greatest ever story told of a kind and warm heart man, a loving and a caring and a consummate professional who had a generous heart of gold. Diction fail in providing the right words that would correctly describe your sterling qualities.
I could write a million pages yet unable to say just how much you gave yourself, your love, your resources, your everything; how dedicated you were to caring for your children and others around you.
You have left behind a legacy of detribalised leadership and a soil that was fertile enough to grow trees whose shade you would never enjoy.
I always say, society sets certain standards by which people are measure and it is the conviction of every Ghanaian that if the nation cannot bequeath anything to Ghanaians at all, it must at least bequeath to them, a leader with a high sense of morality, uprightness and humility. That was the man Kwesi Bekoe.
You were a perfect example of what the people of Ghana were looking for was a humble selfless, truly confident intelligent, non-corrupt, God-fearing Vice President, who was focused. You proved yourself.
A man well recognised for his many achievements and immense contributions to the polity, communal liberalism, growth, and general welfare of the people of Ghana. Beyond these, you were a humble man, dearly loved and respected.
As a democrat, you promoted due process in government and equity in public administration. a friend and brother, a great gift to the nation and people of Ghana ..
I describe you as pillar of Ghana’s democracy. How are the mighty fallen! The pillar of our democracy has gone, the finest and the most credible political leader has gone.
I cannot be the same again. The gentleman who brought great intellectual touch to our politics and sustained our democracy has passed on.
You have died at a time when your wealth of experience and wisdom as an elder, is required to strengthen the unity of the great NDC Party.
The life, times, and selfless service of such courageous, cerebral, and incorruptible leader and patriot should be appreciated and projected as a model for the political leaders, youth, the whole nation, and posterity.
Though we will miss you, your elderly guidance, ideals of honesty, hard work and humility in service, will remain a fortitude to me.
It is left for those of us in the new generation of leadership to continue where and when he stopped. I will never forget how he touched my soul, how he stirred my spirit, how he moved my heart and how I looked to him for strength even when he didn’t know that I was looking.
He’s like the eagle that takes pleasure in flying directly into the rage of stormy thunder and rises above its frightful dangers.
He’s like the lion that sees conflict, danger and war ahead and yet plunges into battle with courage, pride and joy. He’s a great man of the Churchillian mould.
That is what as an outgone member of Vice Presidential Press Corps, I saw in Amissah–Arthur. These were the leadership qualities the former Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, had and proved to us as members of the Vice Presidential Press Corps.
We operated separately and were not part of the Flagstaff House Communication Bureau platform for the dissemination of information. Meanwhile the Dean and the Vice Dean were from the Vice Presidents media team.
As his Press members, one did not need permission to see him for discussions. If I am not lost as his Press, we consistently met him when we had issues of our general welfare and observations. Beyond these, he proved to us what humility was so we learnt a lot from him. His press men were very important to him and we shared a lot of ideas.
If you were a security man, an ADC or whoever, you dare not cross the path of his press team. He met his team without staffers or aides.
Sometimes, he personally wanted to see the vehicles that were being given to his press when we were going for an assignment. That was the man. He made sure we handled our stipends personally including accommodation of our choice when we travelled.
After his exit, he still got in touch with his press and remained a press builder of human social bridges.
I am persuaded that posterity will be kind to him and history will never forget his timeless contributions to the development of our nation. He will always be a reference point for all that is wholesome and good. May God bless him forever?
Adieu our leader! May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.