The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has emphasized the importance of recognizing individuals who paved the way for Ghana’s current state.
He highlighted the significant contributions of former leaders like Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia in solidifying Ghana’s democracy and establishing its foundation.
Addressing an event in Kumasi held to honour Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, the Majority Leader underscored the pivotal role the former Prime Minister played in enhancing the country’s democratic values and driving its development.
“Dr. Busia believed in strengthening parliament to resist dictatorship. In those days, parliament was used to cause a lot of mischief in governance. Parliament was used to destool chiefs. Parliament was used to sack judges. He is the reason why the constitutions after 1966 have made adequate provisions to stop this. Parliament cannot legislate in matters concerning chiefs.”
“Parliament cannot overturn judgments from the court. Until we had this, parliament could overturn judgments from the court. These are occurrences which have informed our current drive in governance. Parliament by Article 56 cannot legislate to impose a one-party state. In 1960, we had a one-party state. He is the reason why Article 66 also provides that a president has only two terms. We cannot have a life president who will go on indefinitely. Again, thanks to Dr. Busia.”
Additionally, he shed light on specific instances where Dr. Busia contributed to the nation’s progress and clarified certain misconceptions and controversies that surrounded his political career.
“Busia was in many ways misunderstood. In the construction of the Akosombo dam, the argument was that as a country, we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. If there’s any misfortune, the nation will suffer. So the advocacy at the time was that, Ghana is blessed with so many rivers that traverse almost all the regions, so we could have a dam on Pra, to serve the central region, another on Offinso to serve Ashanti Region, Ankobra to serve the Western Region. That was the advocacy. And yet the whole thing was overturned that Busia didn’t want Akosombo dam to be constructed. When the motorway was going to be constructed, Busia said we shouldn’t do that, and he was misunderstood.”
“The reason which he gave was that it had been estimated that the cement and iron rod that was going to be used on the motorway would be able to build 250,000 two-unit houses. At the time, the housing stock in both Accra and Kumasi was lower than 200,000. So it was like building two cities that would not be occupied at the time, and Busia was lambasted. He insisted that we could do a normal road and not a motorway. Today in Ghana, the housing deficit is in the region of about 1.8 million. Sadly, extreme partisanship and political polarization hamper the celebration of our national heroes. It is my humble plea that as a people, we honour the men and women who blaze the trail regardless of tribe, or religion, or political affiliation,” Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added.
A former chairman of the National Peace Council and former bishop of the Methodist Church, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, also called on stakeholders to measure leaders who have contributed immensely to nation-building without political lenses in order to make it easier to study their works for the benefit of the nation.
“We need to take these leaders out of our antagonistic politics and place them within the context of education so that students should be able to learn the kinds of things they have contributed. And then we will be able to replicate them in our socio-political context that we find ourselves. What I’m saying in respect of Dr. Busia, I’m saying it in respect of other leaders of our country who have contributed. These are people we need to learn a lot from.”
The director of the Busia Institute for Rural and Democratic Development (BIRDD), Anane Agyei, also supported the call for Dr. Busia to be celebrated.
“45 years after the demise of a person is relatively long enough to forget such a person and all that he stood for, but Busia is survived by the great legacy he left behind,” said Anane Agyei, Executive Director of BIRDD.