By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Peter Ala Adjetey, the immediate past Speaker of Parliament and a leading member of the New Patriotic Party, died yesterday at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after a short illness. He was 77.
Following news of his death, many people, including legal practitioners and politicians, have been pouring into his house at La, in Accra, to sympathise with the bereaved family.
His death came barely 12 days after he was decorated with the Order of the Star, a high national honour, by President J.A. Kufuor for his public service and contribution to the development of the Legislature in the country.
Novalis Gans-Lartey, a spokesman for the family, told the Times yesterday that Mr Adjetey was rushed to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Friday for medical attention following his deteriorating health.
He said news of the death reached the family at dawn yesterday.
The government has expressed shock at Mr Ala Adjetey’s death.
A release signed by Andrew Awuni, Press Secretary to the President, said "the nation has lost a great man who served at the highest level with devotion and commitment."
He said Mr Adjetey will be remembered for the leadership he provided as Speaker of Parliament during the first term of President Kufuor’s Administration and indeed in all other areas he served."As the government strives to come to terms with the loss of Mr Adjetey, an accomplished lawyer, astitute politician and a statesman, it considers it a duty to express on behalf of the nation, and on his own behalf, condolences to the bereaved family in this difficult period," the release said.
The Ghana Bar Association described the death as a great loss to the association.
"We have lost a brilliant, stalwart and legal brain who fought for the entrenchment of the rule of law and democracy," Nii Osa Mills, GBA president, told the Times, and added that members of the association admire the former Speaker’s commitment to the growth of the legal profession.
He said the GBA would miss him for his tenacity in pushing ideas and ability to persuade people to accept what he believes in.
The NPP said the death is a big blow to the party and the nation as a whole.
Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary said Mr. Adjetey was a legal luminary whose contribution had helped in shaping the political and legal landscape of the country.
"It is impossible for the political history of the party and the country to be written without the mention of his name," he said.
The National Democratic Congress for its part, said it received the news with shock.
The party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, described the former Speaker as "a brilliant man of integrity who believed in the supremacy of Parliament."
Mr. Adjetey, born August 11, 1931, was the second Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana in the Fourth Republic.
The affable lawyer and politician, known for his baritone voice in shouting Order!, Order, in Parliament, endeared himself to both sides of the House, with his impartial approach to issues.
Mr Adjetey, a prominent son of La, Accra, obtained his basic education at St. Paul’s School at La and the Accra Bishop Boys’ School.
He had his secondary education at Accra Academy from where he proceeded to the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana), where he obtained the University of London intermediate Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954.
He then proceeded to the United Kingdom, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nottingham in 1958.
Mr. Adjetey was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in London in 1959, returned to Ghana the same year and was called to the Bar in Ghana.
He was the president of the Ghana Bar Association from 1986 to1989.
On the political scene, he was a founding member of the New Patriotic Party and the party’s chairman from 1995 to1998.
Mr. Adjetey was the President of the African Bar Association in 2000.
Meanwhile, Salifu Abdul-Rahaman & Samuel Nuamah report that Members of Parliament yesterday expressed grief over the death of the former Speaker.
Although the issue of his death did not come up on the floor of the House, a number of MPs who spoke to the Times, described the death as a great loss to the rule of law and democracy in the country.
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Alban Bagbin, said the intelligence and articulation of the former Speaker at international conferences had won the admiration of many Speakers of Parliament.
"He was very intelligent and meticulous in his work. These attributes of him have made us proud," he said.
"Though we knew he was not well for sometime, we did not know that things will turn bad within a short time. We have lost a genius," he added.
Mr Bagbin said Mr Adjetey’s death was not only a loss to his family but to the country as a whole.
Kwame Osei Prempeh, (NPP-Nsuta Kwamang Beposo and Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice), described Mr Adjetey as a champion of democracy and the rule of law adding he was a genius.and Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice), described Mr Adjetey as a champion of democracy and the rule of law adding he was a genius.
He said Mr Adjetey exhibited "a mark of excellence in his work. "He brought all his expertise to bear on Parliament; he never compromised on mediocrity and never fear to speak the truth."
Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, (NPP-Suame and Deputy Majority Leader and Minister of State), described Mr Adjetey’s death as a "tragic loss" not only to his family but to all adherents of democratic governance.and Deputy Majority Leader and Minister of State), described Mr Adjetey’s death as a "tragic loss" not only to his family but to all adherents of democratic governance.
Recalling some fond memories of the former Speaker, Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said he was a strict disciplinarian who brought quality to bear on the work of Parliament.
"He worked to strengthen the institution of Parliament," he said and added that the late Mr Adjetey was impartial in his rulings on issues in Parliament.
Ms Cecilia Dapaah, (NPP-Bantama and Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing), told the Times that "it is shocking that such a vibrant, good servant of Ghana should die."
She said on the political front, the country has lost a giant emphasising, "Mr Adjetey was a mentor to some of us in good governance and leadership.
Expressing her condolences to the bereaved family, Ms Dapaah said, "Mr Adjetey was a father to all of us; his memory will continue to inspire us."
Moses Asaga, NDC-Nabdam said Mr Adjetey’s departure was a big blow to the country adding that during Mr Adjetey tenure, he tried to reform Parliament by working to improve upon the conditions of service of MPs and the work of the legislature.
Mr Asaga said, Mr Adjetey gave the Minority enough room to share their views on issues of national importance and interest.