John Agyekum Kufuor says the Akufo-Addo-led government has notched up a remarkable record of achievement and been astute in its management of Ghana’s economy.
The former president was speaking in part two of a sit-down interview at his residence in Accra with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo for Sunday Night.
The two men discuss the state of the economy. And Kufuor also talks about why he served two terms at Ussher Fort Prison.
The former president, who is also a lawyer, has been active in Ghanaian politics for the past six decades.
Watch excerpts of the interview below.
Early life and career
Affectionately called the “Gentle Giant”, John Agyekum Kufuor was born in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
He received his early education at Kumasi Government School and then attended Osei Tutu Boarding School (now Osei Tutu Senior High School, 1951-53), followed by Prempeh College (1954-58).
He subsequently bagged a Bachelor’s degree in law and then was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London in less than two years, qualifying him to practise as a barrister in the law courts of England and Wales.
Kufuor returned to Ghana and entered public service, working as the Town Clerk of Kumasi City Council.
He became a founder member of Kofi Abrefa Busia’s Progress Party and his political career commenced when he was elected to serve as the MP for Atwima Nwabiagya in the Ashanti Region in 1969. At that time, just turned 30, he was one of the freshest faces on Ghana’s political scene.
He was a junior minister in the Progress Party government and held the seat until the coup d’état of January 1972.
He served again as the MP for Atwima Nwabiagya on the Popular Front Party ticket during the Third Republic (1979-81), when he was a prominent opposition frontbencher.
Kufuor became a household name in the fight for the liberal-democratic Ghanaian political tradition under the banner of the New Patriotic Party, the present-day direct descendant of the United Gold Coast Convention and United Party.
In December 1996 he stood as the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party in the election but lost. However, he beat the odds and led the NPP to victory in 2000 and 2004, serving two terms as president of Ghana.
Head of state (2000-2009)
As an advocate of liberal democracy, Kufuor focused on stabilising the nation’s economy. He did this by unleashing and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of Ghanaians.
Through what he termed a “social market”, he planned to use innovation as one of the main platforms to advance the nation’s economy.
He is best known for introducing and successfully implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme, for establishing the National Ambulance Service, institutionalising the capitation grant at basic school level and introducing free mental health care, among many other such programmes.
J A Kufuor is considered as arguably Ghana’s most celebrated head of state of the past half-century.