Veteran politician and elder statesman, Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah has died at age 89
A seasoned politician in Ghana, his political career dated back to the 1960s when he was in charge of planning in
For a very long time - from Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia's regime to January 6, 2009,
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In an interview with Junior Graphic's Augustina Tawiah in 2007,
It was also the same period that the nationalist movements started, and “as a student studying history, geography
He was the brother of
He then headed to
He began working as an assistant inspector of taxes in 1953 while the Gold Coast was still under colonial rule.
In 1958, Mensah joined the United Nations Secretariat at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies, in New York City, United States.
Mensah returned to Ghana in 1961 as the Head of Agency at the National Planning commission.
The National Planning commission drew and implemented the country's Seven-Year Development Plan (1962–1969).
In 1969, he was elected to parliament and became the Finance minister until 1972, when he was replaced by
Beginning in 1974, Mensah worked in the private sector both in Ghana and abroad.
He was imprisoned by the National Redemption Council from 1975 to 1978. Although banned from political activity in 1979, he was active for the Popular Front Party in the 1979 elections.
He also served as Chairman of the Sunyani District Council in Brong-Ahafo Region (1979–1981), and proprietor of Banka Farms. Exiled in England, in 1983 he headed a group opposing the PNDC.
He also served on the African Advisory Council of the African Development Bank from 1993 to 1997.
In December 1996, Mensah contested a parliamentary seat in Sunyani East District as a member of the New Patriotic Party, which he won.
He was re-elected in 2000. Prior to John Kufuor's election in 2001, Mensah was the minority leader in Parliament (1997 - 2001).
Young J.H. Mensah the seasoned politician
Young as he was, he became so politically conscious
In an interview with Augustina Tawiah in a publication in the Junior Graphic newspaper in 2007,
Little did that young boy who used to engage in political debates know that he was actually preparing himself for a career in politics.
“At that time, I never thought I would eventually go into politics. I thought I was trained only for academic and civil service careers,”
Leaving school the same year that the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was formed in 1947, gave him ample time to engage in
Recalling his days at Achimota,
Achimota school also had to give up the Western side of the school to the British Army. As a result, some students, including him were re-located to Aburi Gardens for a while.
During those days, young Mensah remembered that he was talkative and also temperamental. He knew his rights and firmly stood for them.
He also developed a keen interest in sports. He played hockey, football
According to him, as a child, he yearned to become a learned man so he always studied hard in order to be great.
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 said the family's finances were manageable.
As a child, apart from waking up early to fetch water, he helped with household chores. During weekdays after school and on vacations, he used to help his mother who sold textiles, oranges and many other items
Sometimes, he had to carry oranges around to sell. But that did not affect his studies, because he provided enough time for that.
Young J.H. Mensah, attended St Peter's Cathedral School, in Kumasi, and in those days, he said, he used to walk to school without any shoes on.
After Achimota School,
He is also on record to be the first President of the Junior Common Room of the Legon Hall. From
It was while he was in California that Ghana attained her independence. Although he was not at home on that eventful day, he had the chance to broadcast to listeners in San Francisco on current affairs in Ghana.
Prior to his involvement in active politics,