Ghanaians pay last respects to Appiah-Menka

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem

Hundreds of Ghanaians Thursday converged on the forecourt of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council to pay their last respects to Mr Akenten Appiah-Menka.

The industrialist, politician and statesman passed away on February 13, 2018, aged 84.

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led a high-powered government delegation to the funeral.

Also present were the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; former President J. A. Kufuor, and the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe, who is also the Paramount Chief of the Juaben Traditional Area in the Ashanti Region.


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The Majority and the Minority leaders of Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Mr Haruna Iddrisu, respectively, and some Members of Parliament were part of the mourners who bade farewell to Mr Appiah-Menka, who was a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Some members of the Council of State, ministers of state, members of the Ghana Bar Association, the business community, traditional rulers from across the country and some service commanders were also at the funeral.

Tributes were read by the widow, the children, the state and the Methodist Church.

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Wreaths

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, laid a wreath on behalf of the President and the people of Ghana, followed by Baffuor Asabre Kogyawoasu, who laid another on behalf of the Asantehene and Asanteman.

The widow, Mrs Rosemond Appiah-Menka, laid another wreath, while two of the deceased’s children, Kwasi Appiah-Menka and Kwaku Appiah-Menka, laid one on behalf of their 11 siblings.

The Methodist Church also laid a wreath.

Ritual

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, was represented by a large retinue of chiefs and elders.

The funeral was not devoid of Asante culture and tradition.

A delegation from the Manhyia Palace sprinkled gold dust on the face of the body as it laid in state. The gold dust was provided by the Asantehene and the Asantehemaa, Nana Konadu Yiadom III.

Mr Appiah-Menka was Otumfuo’s court carrier, and the smearing of the gold dust on his remains signified his meritorious service to Asanteman.

The Asantehene and the Asantehemaa also presented cloths and Schnapps to the bereaved family.

President’s tribute

In a tribute, President Akufo-Addo said: “I have lost a valued senior counsellor.”

He said Mr Appiah-Menka was a model of the entrepreneurial spirit Ghana required for its development.

“He was an invaluable and constant source of advice and prayers for me and was overjoyed when I won the presidential election in 2016,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo traced the political trajectory of the late NPP stalwart from his days as a deputy minister, together with the likes of former President Kufuor, in the short-lived Busia regime, to his active role in the early days of the Fourth Republic and his role as a member of the NPP’s Council of Elders.

He said from prison till his days as the manufacturer of the famous Apino Soap, Appiah-Menka never abandoned his Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition.

Biography

Mr Appiah-Menka was born at Aboabugya, a town in the Ashanti Region.

After his early education, he ‘stowawayed’ from the Takoradi Port in a French cargo ship and landed in England in 1954, where he was able to enrol at the North Western Polytechnic for his GCE Advanced Level certificate.

He later gained admission and studied Law at the University of Manchester, graduated in 1959, sat for the Bar examination at the Lincoln Inn, passed and returned to Ghana in 1960.

His entrepreneurial expertise was exhibited when he acquired a 600-acre land at Akrofum, near Obuasi, for an oil palm plantation, leading to the mechanisation of the Ashanti Oil Mills, which later became Appiah Menka Complex Limited that manufactured the famous Apino Soap.

His remains were laid to rest at Aboabugya.