Friday, July 13, 2018


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday July 13, 2018

Joseph Henry Mensah, popularly called J.H. Mensah, the veteran politician and one of the pillars behind the formation of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has been reported dead.

He reportedly passed away at the 37 Military Hospital yesterday dawn in Accra where he was said to have been on admission for some months.

According to reports, J.H. Mensah, who was a Senior Minister during the previous Kufuor administration, was 89.

Glowing Tribute 
Following the sad passing of the NPP stalwart, top politicians and leaders have been paying glowing tribute to him.

President Akufo-Addo yesterday expressed sorrow over the death of the statesman and promised to duly honour him.

He told a gathering of family and NPP members in Accra that the former minister deserved a befitting farewell and commended him highly for his contributions to the development of the country.

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in a post on social media platform Facebook, briefly outlined J.H. Mensah’s contributions to Ghana’s development.

“Truly a mighty tree has fallen with the passing on of a statesman, Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, (affectionately called J.H. Mensah). He passionately served his country with pride to enhance development and was a man of endearing charm and wit,” he said.

“For me, J.H. Mensah was a mentor. In my humble opinion, he is probably the best economist Ghana has produced. Analytically amazing in the way he dissected issues and practical in his policy prescriptions. He was the author of President Kwame Nkrumah's seven-year development plan,” adding “My sincerest condolences go to his family, government, people of Ghana and the fraternity of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition.”

Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings also eulogized the former Senior Minister, saying on Twitter that “my sincere condolences to the NPP and the family of J.H. Mensah for their loss. He left an indelible mark on Ghana's politics. May his soul rest in peace.”

Early Development 
J.H. Mensah was born on October 30, 1928 to a father who was said to be a civil servant in the then Gold Coast and a mother who was a trader at the Kumasi Central Market.

He was the third of 10 children and attended St Peter’s Cathedral School in Kumasi and then proceeded to the famous Achimota School.

He received his tertiary education at the University of Gold Coast (now University of Ghana) between 1948 and 1954 and proceeded to the University of London the same year where he obtained both Bachelor and Master degrees in Economics.

The late J.H. Mensah also had a stint at the Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA, and specialised in economic theory and development.

His working experience dates back to 1953 when he was appointed as an Assistant Inspector of Taxes by the colonial administration.

The Senior Minister of Government Business also worked as a Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Ghana between 1954 and 1958.

He joined the United Nations Secretariat in 1958 as an Economic Affairs Officer at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies, in New York.

In 1961, he was the Head of Agency at the National Planning Commission of the Government of Ghana, which drew and implemented the country's Seven-Year Development Plan (1962-1969).

Political Journey 
During the Progress Party (PP) administration (1969-1972), he was the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, as well as a Member of Parliament (MP) under Prime Minister Prof Busia’s administration, which was overthrown by the Acheampong-led military junta.

After Acheampong’s 1972 coup, J.H. Mensah was imprisoned by the National Redemption Council (NRC) in 1975.

At one point, he was the Chairman and Managing Director, Development and Management Consultants (Ghana) Ltd; Chairman, Sunyani District Council (1978-1981) and Proprietor of Banka Farms Limited.

He was later forced into exile in the early 1980s but still headed a group opposed to the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.

After Ghana entered its Fourth Republic in 1992, he served on the African Advisory Council of the African Development Bank from 1993 to 1997.

In December 1996, J.H. Mensah successfully contested for a parliamentary seat in the Sunyani East Constituency on the ticket of the NPP and served as the Minority Leader in Parliament when the NPP was in opposition but later became Majority Leader when the NPP won power in the year 2000.

He served three consecutive terms as MP for Sunyani East from 1997 to 2009.

No comments: