When the day of toil is done,
When the race of life is run,
Father, grant Thy wearied one
Rest Forever more.
From the sunrise to the sunset we shall mourn him!!!
Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the late His Excellency, Mr. A. A. Munufie, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State in the Second Republic, former Co-chairman of the National Democratic Congress and former Ghana's Ambassador to la Cote d'Ivoire.
His Excellency, Mr. Akumfi Ameyaw Munufie was born in December, 1929 and named Kwadwo Ofori Munufie. His grandfather was the Omanhene of the Techiman State at the time.
He was the first Techiman citizen to be awarded a state scholarship to study overseas, and this he did by studying taxation in the UK in 1950. He returned to Ghana in 1953 and worked for some time with the Income Tax Department in Kumasi.
At this time, he took an active interest in politics and together with the Techimanhene, Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III, led the agitation of the Brong Kyempim Movement, culminating in the famous Achimota Conference in 1955. One of the activists in this struggle was the late Dormaahene, Nana Agyeman Badu, and the outcome of their struggles was the creation of the Brong Ahafo Region in
I t was a t t h i s t ime t ha t t he Techimanhene bestowed his own stool title Ameyaw Akumfi on Mr. Munufie,
which subsequently became his name (A. A.) and replaced his name at birth, Kwadwo Ofori.
In 1957, Mr. A. A. Munufie left for the UK again, this time to study Law. He returned to Ghana in 1963 as a fully qualified lawyer and when the ban on party politics was lifted after the 1966 coup d'etat, he plunged into active party politics, throwing in his lot with Dr. K. A. Busia's Progress Party.
After the Party won the 1969 elections, Mr. Munufie was appointed Minister of Rural Development, the second person to hold the portfolio in that newly created Ministry. So effective was Mr. Munufie in the sector that his name became synonymous with rural development, and soon, anything connected with the rural sector or any behaviour typifying rural life was referred to as “Mununfie”, especially among students of tertiary institutions.
It was during Mr. Munufie's tenure as Minister of Rural Development that the philosophy of rural development through a regional decentralized approach and increased agricultural production approach was adopted. Under this, feeder roads were constructed, extension services were expanded, the use of fertilizers was increased, the quality of mechanization services to farmers was improved, agricultural credit was increased and co- operative organization services in the rural areas were strengthened.
In 1992, Mr. Munufie refused to join the Ghana Bar Association's boycott of the Consultative Assembly, arguing that the best way to end unconstitutional governance was to participate in the processes leading to its termination. He was therefore a very active member of the Consultative Assembly that gave birth to the present Constitution, even though the
Bar Association boycotted the Assembly.
When the ban on party politics was lifted again in 1992, Mr. Munufie was in the thick of things, this time throwing in his lot with Jerry John Rawlings and the NDC. At the Party Congress in 1992, he and Alhaji Issifu Ali were unanimously elected Co-chairman of the Party, and they successfully held these positions until they left office in 2002.
During this period, Mr. Munufie was appointed Ghana's Ambassador to la Cote d'Ivoire. The new sprawling edifice in Abidjan housing the Ghana Embassy today was his handiwork and one of the legacies he is leaving behind to posterity. Even in Abidjan, he was very active as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Board of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and was very active in shaping the direction of the decentral- ization programme as we have it today.
Mr. Speaker, I got to know A. A. Munufie personally when I was posted to the Attorney-General's Department in the Brong Ahafo Region in the 1980s. Even though several years my senior at the Bar, he took personal interest in me. We would argue at court at opposite sides - I, prosecuting an accused person and he defending an accused.
As my senior, I would seek his legal opinion when I had difficulties, and he sending for me whenever he needed any information. He was at all material times a father and a friend.
Mr. Speaker, when he was at the Consultative Assembly I used to meet him at the residence of the late Justice A. A. Forster, then a Court of Appeal Judge who spent several years in the Brong Ahafo Region as a State Attorney.
Today, he is no more. The fountain of knowledge from which some of us drank