Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta loses father

Ofori-Atta Sr, a political economist and keeper of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia flame in the Eastern Region, passes away at the age of 86

Jones Andrew Akwasi Amoako Atta Ofori-Atta, the father of the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has passed away.

He died yesterday (30 November) after a short illness at the Nyaho Clinic in Accra.

A familiy statement published by one of his sons announced the news. He was a week away from his 87th birthday.

Life of a career economist

Jones Ofori-Atta was a deputy finance minister in the government of Kofi Abrefa Busia.

He was born on 7 December 1934 at Fankyeneko in the Eastern Region of Ghana, one of almost 100 children of Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa between 1912 and 1943.

He was educated at the Kibi Government School (1943-50), Achimota College (1950-57) and the University of Ghana (1958-61). He left Ghana for Canada to study economics at the University of Ottawa in 1962 and gained a PhD in 1965.

Ofori-Atta joined the staff of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, working as an assistant professor in economics until 1966, and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Manchester in England from 1966 to 1967. In 1967 he returned to Ghana after being appointed a lecturer in economics at Legon and worked at the university for two years.

He first stood for public office as a candidate for the Progress Party in the 1969 election, and was elected the MP for Begoro in the Eastern Region. That same year, Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia appointed him as a ministerial secretary (deputy minister) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

He served in this role until 1972, when the Supreme Military Council overthrew the Busia government, bringing the short-lived Second Republic to an end.

DDB stalwart

At the inception of the Third Republic, Ofori-Atta once again became the MP for Begoro, this time on the ticket of the Popular Front Party, an offshoot of the defunct Progress Party. In a parliament dominated by Hilla Limann’s Nkrumahist People’s National Party, he served as the opposition spokesman on finance and economic planning. He again left Parliament in a coup when the Limann government was overthrown by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on 31 December 1981.

In 1992 Ofori-Atta stood for the Fanteakwa seat in the Eastern Region on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He lost the seat to Nicholas Asomaning of the National Democratic Congress in a controversial contest, the results of which were hotly disputed by the NPP when figures changed after the local NDC assemblyman organised a “recount”.

Ofori-Atta stood in the race to become flagbearer of the NPP in 1996. He retired from active politics in 1997 but remained a member of the party.

He was married to Maud Adi-Darko, with whom he had four children, including the current Finance Minister.

Fred Dzakpata

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