Members of Parliament have paid glowing tribute to former Minister of Finance, Prof. Kwesi Botchwey describing him as a gem of a statesman who should be celebrated for his dedication and service to Ghana.
Prof Botchwey is the longest-serving Finance Minister in Ghana having served in that position as Secretary for Finance during the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) military government from 1982 to January 6, 1993.
He was appointed by the late Jerry John Rawlings to assist in stabilizing Ghana’s collapsed economy from 1982 to 1993 and continued as Finance Minister from January 7, 1993, when Ghana returned to democratic governance and served till 1995 before his then deputy, Kwame Peprah took over from him.
Prof. Kwesi Botchwey died on Saturday morning, November 19, 2022, at the age of 80.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu who read a tribute in honour of Prof Botchwey on Monday, December 19 on the floor of Parliament argued his contribution to Ghana’s economic development as one of the longest-serving Ministers of Finance is more visible than any other.
Prof. Botchwey, he said, was tops but simple and inspired many with his uncharacteristic humility.
He said, “Prof. Botchwey established himself nationally and internationally as an outstanding statesman when he voluntarily resigned from government at a time when the Ghanaian economy was stable and fastest growing in West Africa at the time.”
“After leaving the political space he taught internationally including at Harvard University. Much of his speaking engagements at forums and institutions around the world discussed trends in the global economy and issues of African development.”
According to the Minority leader, a few lessons that the present generation can derive from the late economist’s life are his reconciliatory personality and stress he always reached out to the other side and did extensive consultation on national matters, and served the country with integrity.
Prof. Botchwey, he said, abhorred unbridled partisanship and all attempt to stifle criticism whether within or across party lines in the national interest.
He said, “He mentored many and inspired many and he will be reminded for liberalizing the Ghanaian economy with the reforms that he led.”
“Devastating that his passing may be, a great loss to the state, I pray Allah will comfort his family, his partner, and his children.”
Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
In his contribution, Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah recalled when Prof. Botchwey led the economy during one of the difficult periods of the country and was responsible for the government’s revenue measures that were not popular during their introduction.
He averred that notwithstanding, over the years everybody agrees his service to the republic was worth celebrating.
The late economist, he said, even after exiting government continued to serve his political party the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Ghana as a nation.
Prof. Botchwey, he said, wrote books and has a lot of poignant publications to his credit which should inspire all those who get the opportunity to serve the republic should also do more.
Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
MP for North Tongue, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in his contribution described Prof. Botchwey as a statesman extraordinaire and praised him for the liberal economic reforms that Ghana is enjoying today.
According to him, he was sought after by the World Bank, IMF, and the UNDP and chaired many committees and served on many eminent panels, and published extensively citing the Ghanaian economic reform miracle.
He averred the late Botchwey’s dedication even after leaving office as Finance Minister is remarkable and in 2014 accepted an appeal by former President Mahama to lead Ghana’s team to the IMF and chaired the famous Senchi forum that produced the homegrown solution that became the blueprint for the 2014 and 2015 IMF programme.
“He also heeded the nation’s call to serve as chair of the National Development and Planning Commission, a duty he discharged with utmost efficiency and distinction,” he said.
Ghana, he said, will solely miss the late economist, especially at this time when the nation needs these brains to pull it back from the edge of the economic abyss.
Hon. Jospeh Osei Owusu
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, stated Prof. Kwesi Botchwey is a statesman and throughout his time at the helm of the economic ministry he never attacked an opponent.
According to him, he loved the late economist for his advocacy, his strength, and his communication skills with which he defended and advocated his economic policies without taking his opponents to the task.
“Since he left the post of Finance Minister, even though he was politically active whenever he spoke, he spoke as a statesman and left his mark to symbolize the Akan proverb that says ‘A man came to leave a mark and not how long he lives.”
Hon. Alexander Afenyo-Markin
Deputy Majority leader and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin who also contributed to the statement wished Prof. Botchwey were alive to hear all the good things being said about him and lamented humanity only remembers outstanding achievers only after they have died.
He called on politicians to be guided by the virtues he espoused and his moderate character and stressed that extremism should not be given space in the Ghanaian body politic.
“Lawlessness must not have space in the politics of our country. We need moderates and people who will build bridges and cross the aisle and make friends and people who understand Ghana first in all matters like the late economist,” he said.
Rt. Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Suman Kingsford Bagbin, in his remark noted indeed it is true the late Prof. Kwesi Botchwey was a true statesman and inspired him to reach his current position.
He recommended the House make space to celebrate more of such great Ghanaians and bring home to the Ghanaian people that this is a great nation made up of great men and women.
According to him, long before Ghana was called the gold coast it made a great impact globally because it had very great personalities and stressed Parliament needs to create opportunities to educate the current generation about Ghana’s journey and her heroes.
The death of Prof. Botchwey, he said, was a shocking departure but stressed at least he celebrated his 80th birthday and expressed the wish such people would be celebrated while alive and not after their departure.
Many other members contributed to the tribute including Member for Sefwi Wiaso, Kweku Afriyie; MP for Ellembelle, Kofi Armah Buah; and MP for Kwadaso, Kingsley Nyarko.