Obituaries | Aug 17, 2018

J.H. Mensah Begins Final Journey Home

A state funeral has been held for late Statesman and New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, Joseph Henry Mensah.

The funeral service took place at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra.

J.H. Mensah, who helped shaped Ghana's democratic credentials died a month ago at the 37 Military Hospital at the age of 89.

Prior to the final burial service, a church service was held at the Christ the King Parish on Thursday evening.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama, government officials, Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, Members of Parliament and a host of others from all walks of life graced the funeral service.

J.H. Mensah's family is expected to hold a private burial service for the departed statesman.

Giving a tribute at the burial service, President Akufo-Addo described J.H. Mensah as someone who was selfless to the course of Ghana.

“One of the greatest servants of the Ghanaian people has gone to his maker. Modest in his living, disdainful of material things, his passion was for the public weal, the public good, the public interest, res publica, the public matter. Four of our history leaders — Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Abrefa Busia, Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor — were touched, in diverse ways by his genius. It is my eternal regret that old age and illness prevented him from being able to do the same for me, his self-acclaimed protege, whom he did so much to assist to reach the top of the greasy pole,” President Akufo-Addo added in his tribute.

About J.H. Mensah
Born October 30, 1928, J.H. Mensah's political life serve as Finance Minister under Kofi Busia's Progress Party (PP) administration from 1969 to 1972, which was cut short by Ignatius Kutu Acheampong's coup.

He was also the Senior Minister under President John Kufuor decades later in 2001.

J.H. Mensah's life in politics began in 1953 when worked as an assistant inspector of taxes.

In 1958, he joined the United Nations Secretariat at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies.

He returned to Ghana in 1961 to Head the National Planning Commission

Under his leadership, the National Planning commission drew up and implemented the Seven-Year Development Plan from 1962 to 1969.

In 1969, he was elected to Parliament and became the Minister of Finance until 1972.

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

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. J.H. Mensah with Nana Akufo-Addo after the NPP's victorious election 2016

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 Sunyani East District on the ticket of the NPP and served as the Minority Leader in Parliament.

He was re-elected in 2000 when the NPP assumed the mantle of governance after over three decades in opposition.

J.H. Mensah was born to a father who was in the Gold Coast Civil Service and a mother who was a trader at the Kumasi Central Market.

He was the third of 10 children. He attended St Peter's Cathedral School, in Kumasi and Achimota School after that.

After Achimota School, J.H. Mensah went to the University of Gold Coast, where he studied economics.

He is on record as the first President of the Junior Common Room of the Legon Hall.

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