Thursday, September 25, 2008

Roundup: Ghana mourns Baah-Wiredu’s death

     Ghana is mourning the sudden death of Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, in a South African hospital.
    Many people from the political divide –President John Agyekum Kufuor, Vice President Aliu Mahama, former President Jerry Rawlings, former vice president and flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Evans Atta Mills, flag bearers and top executives political parties have expressed shock at passing of Mr Baah-Wiredu.
    "The Government announces with deep sorrow and shock the death of Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning," an official statement the statement signed by Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs said.
     It said the President had been informed "about this sad news, he expresses shock about this sudden death and has requested that his condolences should extended to his elderly mother, his wife, children and the rest of the family".
     Alhaji Aliu described the death of the Finance Minister as a terrible experience for Ghana.
    "It is a sad day for the country," he said, and described Mr Baah-Wiredu as a good man who was also his personal friend.
     Former President Jerry John Rawlings has expressed "deep shock" at the passing away of Finance Minister and New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Asante Akim North, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.
     In a statement issued shortly after news broke of Baah-Wiredu's death, Ex-President Rawlings said Ghana had lost a dedicated son.
     "Throughout his political career he exhibited an element of humility which is lacking within our current political dispensation and which endeared him to his colleagues and political opponents alike," President Rawlings intimated."
     On his part, Prof Mills said Mr Baah-Wiredu was humble, respectful and great achiever.
     "It is a great loss to the nation, Ghana," he told the GNA.
      Prof Mills, who said he was shaken by the news of the death, added that Mr Baah-Wiredu was one of his students at the University of Ghana.
     "He was one of the brilliant students and I was not surprised he excelled wherever he found himself."
     He expressed condolences to Mr Baah-Wiredu's family, saying he couldn't imagine their grief at this moment, adding "indeed, the nation has lost somebody for whom I have the greatest respect and I pray that the good Lord will keep him in his bosom."
     In related interviews, leading members of political parties expressed shock and described the death as a great loss to the nation.
     Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) said the entire national executives of the party, received the news with great disbelief, deep shock and described the death as "a big blow" to the party and the nation.
     He recalled the different ministerial roles the late Mr Baah-Wiredu played in stabilisation the NPP administration since January 2001 saying "the loss is completely irreplaceable to the party and the nation".
     Dr Kwabena Adjei, Chairman of the NDC told the GNA that Ghana had lost a fine hardworking, affable gentleman, "who related with people without looking at any political colour".
     "The entire NDC family has been thrown into a state of mourning, bewilderment and shock at the sudden death of such a nice man, especially when most of us did not hear of his ill-health," he said.
     Dr Edward Nasigrie Mahama, flag bearer of the People's National Convention (PNC) was without words when GNA called him for the interview and noted with deep empathy that the nation had lost a fine finance minister.
     He said PNC joined all Ghanaians "to mourn the death of the young, hard-working gentleman, whose affiliation cut across the political divide…. We simply call on his wife, children and family to take heart and consolation in the Lord."
     Mr Dan Lartey, flag bearer of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), described Mr Baah-Wiredu as friend who always ensured that a copy of the budget was sent to him immediately it was ready with nice complements.
    He said Ghana and Parliament had lost a great all round man. "The man is irreplaceable, as his individual contribution is what the NPP is trumpeting on as achievements; he was a fine Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Education and Sports Minister and accountable Finance Minister."
      Mr Oteng Gyasi, President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) also expressed shock at Mr Baah-Wiredu's death, saying his passing away was a great loss to the private sector as well.
      Mr Gyasi said the AGI had worked closely with him to move the business community forward.
     "He will be best remembered for the constant and fruitful meetings the Association had with him."
      Mr Isaac Osei, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, said he was shattered by the news.
     "I am shocked so much so that I can't even say anything right now," he told the GNA.
      "He was a close friend and a good man… We've lost a very humble and technical person."
      As Finance Minister, the late Mr Baah-Wiredu had oversight responsibility for the Cocobod, whose operations had improved tremendously in recent times.
    Mr Baah-Wiredu, 56, was born in Asante Akim Agogo. He started his secondary education at the Kumasi High School, Kumasi in 1967.
     He obtained the GCE Ordinary Level Certificate in 1972. He had his sixth form education at Prempeh College, also in Kumasi. Mr Baah-Wiredu proceeded to the University of Ghana in 1974 and obtained a B. Sc in Administration (Accounting option). He then did a four-year course with the Institute of Chartered Accountants qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1985
    Mr Baah-Wiredu worked at various positions with the now defunct Ghana Airways and the Volta River Authority and as a senior consultant on computer-systems and as finance manager of Ananse Systems.
    In addition, he was a partner in Asante Wiredu and Associates, an accounting firm, prior to being an MP.
     Baah Wiredu was one of the campaigners against the Union government (UNIGOV) concept put forward by General Acheampong's Supreme Military Council. He joined the New Patriotic Party when it was formed in 1992 and became an MP in the 1997.
     He became a minister in President Kufor's government in 2001 and held the portfolios of Local Government and Rural Development (2001-2003) and Education, Youth and Sports (2003-2005) before being named Minister for Finance and Economic Planning in 2005.

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