“In vain, the shrill, cacophonous sounds from your contorted, terraced faces and bulging, veined, parched throats press against my eardrums;
I am the eternal bearer of bad news piercing hearts with poisoned arrows for the second and still to be repeated time.”
Death has stung the nation yet another time. The sting is monstrously venomous, the time most unpropitious, and the victim, most humble, most unassuming, spring- bouncy, variegating-haired son of the soil in whom the nation is well pleased.
In these days of mountainous carnage and sundry bestialities, death of the high- browed and the high-heeled no longer swell the eyes and waterfall nostrils; yet news of the sudden, unheralded exit of hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu caused the nation to wobble, rubber-legged, as embarrassing questions were hurled at death whose arrogant demeanour in this latest apocalyptic mission-accomplished revealed a dare-you-suggest-what-I-must- do posture.
The nation stood in horrified stillness; government shook to its foundations and Parliament got glassy-eyed in the theatre of the tangle between the living and the unliving. The beaten path must be beaten again by one most unsuspecting, most unexpected, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, and all became crest fallen. Death has thus punctured the firmament.
Baah-Wiredu first entered Parliament in 1997. He remained a parliamentarian until the messenger of death came knocking on that fateful Wednesday morning. In opposition, Baah-Wiredu demonstrated
his prowess as a most daring, diligent, scrutinous, scrupulous, selfless and dedicated Member. Particular-ly, in matters which had financial component, Baah-Wiredu would be seen applying the finest comb to ensure that every strand fell into place; which explains why his brilliance was at full glow at the Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee which he belonged to in those days.
Auditing the Auditor-general's Department which Parliament has eventually caused to be done was at the instance of Baah-Wiredu. The crusade to strengthen the role of Parliament and International Loan Agreements was the efforts of Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu in opposition.
That Baah-Wiredu would always play
by the rules was noticeable in the way and manner he handled his Standing Orders and the Constitution. Relevant provisions were underlined in black, blue, green or yellow depending on the implication and the substance.
Moreover he would, with due alacrity, refer to the relevant provisions at the relevant time. In full flight, he was as spectacle to behold. And when anybody took Baah-Wiredu's copies of those documents, the one was likely to be confused by the side notes and comments which combined to produce Baah- Wiredu's revised standard version.
In the business of actual law-making,
which is not one of the very interesting duties of Members of Parliament, Kwadwo distinguished himself. The several amendments he proposed to the several laws that Parliament enacted bear testimony to this.
A backbencher in the Second Parliament
of the Fourth Republic, Baah-Wiredu became the first person to be nominated for a Cabinet position, Minister-designate, Ministry of Local government and Rural Development by President Kufuor. Baah-
Wiredu was to cross over to become the Minister for Education, Science, Youth and Sports after the first reshuffle by the current administration. His diligence, hard work, meticulousness and versatility followed him.
Destined for high-profiled Cabinet positions, Baah-Wiredu achieved his greatest height under President Kufuor when he was reshuffled to head the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning where he presided over the sustenance of economic stability for the country amidst global economic instability and volatility in many commodity prices that threaten many facets of our economic life.
A very selfless and unassuming person, he was always quick to bestow credit on his colleagues even for the many landmark feats that were deservingly his. No one ever remembers Baah-Wiredu claiming credit for any achievement. A unique team player whose affable countenance was always an inspiration to his colleagues to give of their very best, our late colleague will be remembered for his unparalleled devotion to duty.
In both opposition and government,
hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu's credo had been politics without bitterness. Which explains why he was not merely a friend but a brother to everyone: Minority or Majority; high or low; educated or uneducated; male or female; child or adult; Opposition or government. He had a smile for everyone and was intimate to all and sundry. It was a joy to work with him.
His exuberant spirit infected and will
continue to touch many, many ghanaians who in turn will chastise death: “You have done your worst, where is your victory?”
Knowing that the tears of the immediate
family will not be enough to ferry Baah- Wiredu, so much weighed down by his good works, to the greater beyond we all join in mourning a truly honourable colleague, a dear one, a distinguished brother, a human being who, to quote William Shakespeare, “all the forces of nature were so well mixed up in him that nature itself might say: “this was a man”.
We roll out columns of tears with the
family, particularly, his wife, children and his aged mother but we console them; we mourn with Asante Akim but we urge them to be clear-eyed; we empathise with government for having lost its oxygen- bearer but we urge them to take a breath.
For us in Parliament, it would be a
near impossible task not to continue to remember Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu for whom we plead with the Creator to grant a peaceful rest from all the sleepless nights he encountered here on earth, all as part of his contribution to make life better for others.
Hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, fare thee well, till we meet on the plateau of life after life.