The Ridge Interdenominational Church was as simple as Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur. It had retained all the virtues of the old gospel – hard benches, traditional hymns and antique platform.
Good Christian hymns washed over the mourners in an assembly of sweet perfume.
It was a sight to behold inside this Church – an unusual sight. A specie of venerable, accomplished old men and women had come to remember another of their own – Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur’s generation.
They will assemble again on Friday, July 27, 2018, to pay their last respects at his funeral.
Photo: A former Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr. Paul Amoafo Acquah, and Investment Consultant Andrews Kwame Pianim
They are people who can pull a picture of his spotless, supple face from their memories at Mfantsipim or the university or his working life at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research in 1975.
And they pretty much all agreed, “he was a man who could not hurt a fly” and again agreed “his rise in politics was unlikely”.
This was his one-week memorial and while he was everybody’s Vice-President, it was the people who really knew him outside the boxed image of him inside a flat screen TV that really showed up.
Their mark of identity at this memorial, generally, was wise wrinkles, white hair and an English that sounded Fante or a Fante that sounded English.
They sat solemnly, spoke softly and walked with a greater emphasis on energy conservation than reaching a destination.
The youths around really looked childish and in the presence of this generation former President Mahama’s youth really looked young.
Photo: Former President John Mahama has lost his assistant.
Stateswoman Gifty Afenyi Dadzie face shone like daybreak when I asked of her memories of the late Vice-President. “He is…”, she started and remembered how death had made her sentence construction faulty almost suddenly.
“Oh I should rather say he was”, she said and called the late Vice President, a light. A brand name for meticulous hard work with a persona that didn’t take things personal.
His life, a huge hot pot of proud accomplishments held tight over by a heavy lid of humility.
A banner inside the Ridge church spelt out the year’s theme as becoming a disciple of Christ and while we leave the details for God, Amissah-Arthur cut a figure of the man the Christians at Ridge were told to emulate in humility.
At gatherings like this, there were those usual exchanges of new numbers and old nicknames. And the conversations among them are historic – recollections and mini roll calls of that old schoolmate and what became of him or her or where he was last seen or heard.
Dr. Duku remembered his days with him at Mfantsipim in 1969. He has been out of the country for decades and returned last week Thursday with a plan to meet the former Vice-president on Friday.
Photo: Dr.Duku, an old boy of Mfantsipim School and a room-mate to the late Vice-President
The Friday, Paa Kwesi, his dormitory mate, went to the gym and never came back. It was a work-out but it didn’t work out well.
The 67-year old Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur became weak while he was trying to stay strong – a paradox but still a perfect paradox which is the condition set for every man if he is to qualify to receive God’s grace.
For His grace is strong only when we are weak. And Grace decided perhaps that Ghana’s former Vice-President is better off in a place where he would need no gym.
Mother of the late Vice-President
To the Right: Goosie Augustus Obuadum Tanoh, politician and businessman
L-R: NDC National Chairman Kofi Portuphy, former Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho and former President Jerry John Rawlings