The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Michael Oquaye, has said as politicians mourn Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, alias Sir John, they should adopt the warm rivalry, with which he engaged his political opponents.
“Sir John related well with his opponent and counterpart, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, when they were both General Secretaries of their parties,” he said.
“And their relationship to me should be an example for us that we should not be fighting or hating each other because we belong to different parties; such examples should continue to inspire the political atmosphere”.
He urged politicians to avoid hostilities in their own internal fights, saying, “Sometimes, our own internal fights show a lot of hostilities and I wish we wouldn’t do it; and we shouldn’t do so on the national plane.”
The Speaker gave the advice when Members of Parliament paid glowing tributes, extolling the multi-faceted life of Sir John.
The renowned politician and lawyer’s passing, on Wednesday, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has generally been received with shock, sorrow and tributes across the nation.
Mr Owusu-Afriyie, until his death, was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission. He was the General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) from between 2010 and 2014.
After the correction of the Votes and Proceedings, on Thursday, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, made an application to give an announcement, which was granted by Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye.
Dressed in a mourning apparel of brown, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu described his receipt of the news of the death of the politician and lawyer as a “torpedo that hit his mast” on Wednesday.
He described him as a “good friend, a brother, and somebody who affected positively the people he came into contact with.
“Thus, the news about his transition spread like wildfire,” Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu. “His presence was strongly felt in the political space of the country.”
He said Sir John was an affable personality who really affected everyone that he came into contact with; emphasising that, he was shell-shocked to learn about his sudden demise.
“He made no enemies, yet death, the sworn enemy to mankind, laid its icy hands on him yesterday,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“He was also a man of immense ability, a devoted citizen who cherished the work he was doing for the People of Ghana,” he said.
He urged the citizenry to be reminded of the reality and devastating and rampaging effects of Covid-19, which reportedly took Sir John’s life.
“I think it is appropriate for all of us at this stage to pray for the protection of the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative arm of this country, and, indeed, all public servants who are in various ways discharging their responsibilities towards the development of this country,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu extended his condolences to the NPP and the family of Sir John, and eulogised him for mixing his political jabs with humour.
“His sudden departure has taken away from Ghanaian politics his high sense of humour accompanied with his smile, even as he jabbed.”
He recalled the statement “Fear Delegates”, attributed to Sir John, after he lost his re-election bid to Mr Kwabena Agyepong, pointing out that delegates were really to be feared since no one could predict their choices.
“Mr. Speaker, when he lost his second bid for the NPP General Secretary to Kwabena Agyei Agyapong he said that we should fear delegates. I am sure many of our colleagues here will now appreciate his admonishment. And indeed, delegates are to be feared”.