Parliament observes minute's silence in honour of JH Mensah

| Updated Jul 13, 2018 at 8:00am


Veteran politician and an economist, JH Mensah


The Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddirusu
A minute silence was observed in the honour of a veteran politician and an economist, JH Mensah after which parliamentarians took turns to pay tribute to the industrialist.

Born in October 1928 in Sekondi in the Western Region, Mr. JH Mensah died at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

Both the Minority and Majority in Ghana's Parliament on Thursday took turns on the floor of parliament to pay glowing tribute to the late statesman JH Mensah.

Through the respective leaders of the legislators, they described the late former Senior Minister J.H. Mensah as a true statesman who has contributed his quota to both the political and economic development of Ghana.

The Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said J.H. Mensah was an inspiration they all looked up to.

He recounted his service to the nation right from the days of Kwame Nkrumah all through to the time he became the Minority Leader in Parliament.

According to Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who knew the value of Mr. Mensah invited him to come to Ghana and contribute to the development of the country.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said: “J.H. Mensah knew he could have earned much more within the enclave of the United Nations (UN) but selfless as he was he responded to his selfless instincts and migrated back to Ghana to help in constructing the edifice called Ghana”.

He said the plan of economic management introduced by J.H. Mensah included face lifting of urban centres and road development and a shift from controlled economy to a liberalised economy.

“J.H. Mensah introduced the first structural adjustment programme in Ghana which included the devaluation of the cedi to stimulate agricultural and industrial production. The latter, unfortunately agitated many uninitiated people at the time and resulted in some recklessness especially within the ranks of the labour unions. Colonel Kutu Acheampong at the time was to cite the devaluation of the cedi as one of the justifications for ousting the Second Republic on January 13 1972,” he noted.

“He toiled and overreached himself to help build Ghana and not build himself, may the Almighty God be kind to him and grant him eternal rest." That's according to the Majority Leader.

He lamented that Mr. Mensah was incarcerated subsequently and was labelled as a counter -coup maker prompting a self-imposed exile some few years later.

He said: “I count myself as very fortunate to have been in parliament in 1997 with the genius of a character called J.H. Mensah”.

Concluding his tribute, Mr. Mensah Bonsu said, “He was an intellectual par excellence and was hugely knowledgeable, profoundly intelligent, brilliant communicator, an astute debator and a generalist who knew something about every business that Parliament transacted”.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddirusu, for his part, said, Ghana is justified to be in grief following the demise of J.H. Mensah considering his contribution to the development of the country.

“He was an exceptionally and profoundly brilliant economist, one of few gifted with God’s of thinking. He was an exceptionally and profoundly brilliant economist… He’s made significant contributions to the economic and political development of our country.

“He served this country in very diverse capacity. He was an inspiration to many of us in this house. He was very academic and his papers were well researched”, he observed.

Other members of the house also had the opportunity to share a few words of commiseration and to eulogise the late politician and statesman.

Joseph Henry Mensah was a Ghanaian politician and economist.

Mensah attended the University of the Gold Coast, now University of Ghana, between 1948 and 1954.

He then headed to University of London then Stanford University, where he earned both a bachelor's and master's degree with a specialization in economic theory and development.

In 1954, Mensah became a Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Ghana, which lasted until 1958.

Beginning in 1974, Mensah worked in the private sector both in Ghana and abroad.

He was imprisoned by the National Redemption Council from 1975 to 1978.

Although banned from political activity in 1979, he was active for the Popular Front Party in the 1979 elections.

He also served as Chairman of the Sunyani District Council in Brong-Ahafo Region (1979–1981), and proprietor of Banka Farms.

Exiled in England, in 1983 he headed a group opposing the PNDC.

He also served on the African Advisory Council of the African Development Bank from 1993 to 1997.

In December 1996, Mensah contested a parliamentary seat in Sunyani East District as a member of the New Patriotic Party, which he won.

He was re-elected in 2000. Prior to John Kufuor's election in 2001, Mensah was the minority leader in Parliament.

He became the Senior Minister under the John Kufuor-led government and was the first to take up that controversial portfolio created in 2005, now occupied by former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

Portions of this article was culled from Wikip

Compiled by Ruth Abla ADJORLOLO