A former Secretary to President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mr Daniel K. Osei, has described the former president as a deep thinker and one who possesses a “fabulous” memory.
Those qualities, according to him, attracted Mr Kufuor to many world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth and a former President of the United States, George W. Bush.
Mr Osei who served as secretary to the former president throughout his eight-year tenure in office revealed that scores of world leaders on several occasions privately sought the views of Mr Kufuor on several issues that led to his contribution to shaping policy directions in many countries.
“He was such a deep thinker and that made it easier for a majority of world leaders to get on with him.
“His memory is so fabulous such that he can easily recollect images and events that occurred decades in the past…Usually when you speak to him, you would have come to the conclusion that he had thought about the subject prior to your discussion,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
Excellent working relationship
Prior to his appointment as Secretary to the President, Mr Osei, who joined the Foreign Service as far as 1976, was the then Ambassador to Denmark.
In the interview, he stated that although he had shared a mutual relationship with Mr Kufuor since his childhood days, his appointment as secretary came as one of the surprising moments in his life.
“We had spent a lot of time discussing so many issues and he never mentioned it to me. A day after I had left the country, I received a call from his office that he had appointed me as his secretary. It was something I least expected,” he said.
While describing his working relationship with Mr Kufuor as excellent, Mr Osei indicated that the confidence and trust reposed in him by the former accounted for his ability to perform his duties without difficulty.
Mr Osei further described Mr Kufuor as a tough politician and applauded his resilience in fighting to become president even when he had failed on several occasions.
“He is one person who thought deeply about any subject of interest to him and continuously wanted to learn about everything,” he stated.
Referring to his former boss as a great politician, he mentioned the president’s decision to join the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) at the initial stages of his reign as one of the toughest decisions made in his regime that showed his braveness.
According to him, although some of Mr Kufuor’s cabinet ministers opposed the decision at the time, he stood firm to roll out the plan, which, he said, resulted in the country recording a better debt profile at the end of the programme.
Mr Osei argued that in spite of Mr Kufuor being regarded as a centre-right politician, he introduced one of the most pro-poor policies that Ghana had ever seen.
He mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme, School Feeding Programme and the Metro Mass Transit (Kufuor Bus), as key initiatives that reflected the president’s commitment to prioritising the needs of the less privileged in society.
“As he turns 80, I would urge him to disregard age as his limit. He still has a lot to contribute to Ghana and Africa at large,” he stated.