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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Source: GNA

NPP in "deep state of mourning"

Accra, July 15, GNA - The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in "a deep state of mourning" following the death of former Speaker Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, the General Secretary of the Party, Nana Ohene Ntow, said on Tuesday. "Indeed his death is a great loss to the whole nation because we cannot speak of parliamentary democracy and rule of law in this country without mentioning his name," he told reporters after visiting the late Speaker's house to sympathise with the family.

Mr. Adjetey, 76, left behind six children and his 75 year-old wife, Mrs Johanna Dede.

Nana Ntow, who was in the company of NPP flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and party Chairman, Mr. Peter McManu, said the NPP had lost a great party stalwart, a brilliant legal brain and a doyen of parliamentary democracy.

He said as the party's Legal Committee Chairman, Mr. Ala Adjetey always untied difficult legal knots that faced the party and the nation, adding' "he knew the law inside out and often gave very accurate interpretation to the law".

"Mr. Ala Adjetey always spoke his mind with boldness and fortitude and spoke the truth without mincing words. We will miss his immense contribution at our party National Council meetings," he said. Nana Ntow said he personally spoke with Mr Ala Adjetey on phone on Monday, July 14, 2008 while he was in hospital.

"I called him to assist a young member of our party on some legal matters and he told me he was seeing the doctor but he would call me back when he was done," he said. "I did not dream that I will hear of his death this morning."

Mr Jonas Sowah Quaye, nephew of the late former Speaker, said the family had lost a great asset because Mr Adjetey was also the head of the Nuumo Okantey Adjetey Din We of La Dzarasee.

"The big tree of the family itself has fallen. The family will meet at 16.00 hours on July 15, 2008 to decide the way forward," he said. Dr Kwesi Jonah, Scholar Resident of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), said he was very sad to hear of Mr Adjetey's death. He said the former Speaker was a leading lawyer in Ghana and Africa as a whole and a very fair minded politician.

He recalled that as Speaker of Parliament the minority wanted him to stay on for another term even though his own party members voted against him.

That, Dr Jonah said, was an indication of his sense of fairness and non-partisan approach to issues of national concern.

Dr Jonah noted that Mr Adjetey was the pioneer of the ongoing construction of Committee Rooms Block at Parliament, saying, "I hope when it is completed the government will name that block after him."

"I was with him recently at a workshop on transition and he expounded brilliant suggestions towards a smooth transition. He will be remembered for his indelible contribution to parliamentary democracy, constitutional rule and legal interpretation, among other things," he said.

Dr. Jonah extended his condolences to the family and prayed that God would comfort them in this difficult moment.

Mr. Lawrence Adjetey, eldest son of the late legal luminary, said his father went to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Friday, July 11, 2008 for regular check up and again on Monday, July 14, 2008 to confirm his appointment for admission on Wednesday July 16, 2008 for surgery scheduled for Friday July 18, 2008.

"He was not rushed to the hospital; he went on his own," he said. He said at the hospital Mr. Adjetey was told his blood pressure was a little higher than normal so he was admitted and put under observation but he died suddenly at about 05.00 hours on July 15, 2008.

Mr. Adjetey, a celebrated lawyer and politician, was born in Accra on August 11, 1931 and he was the second Speaker of the Fourth Republic from January 2001-January 2005, after the late Mr Justice Daniel Francis Annan.

He was last seen in public on July 3 when he was among more than 200 people who were decorated with national honours.

He obtained his basic education at St. Paul's School at La, in Accra and Accra Bishop Boys' School. He had his secondary education at Accra Academy.

He proceeded to the University College of the Gold Coast, now the University of Ghana, where he obtained the University of London intermediate Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954.

Mr. Adjetey, 76, proceeded to the United Kingdom where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from University of Nottingham in 1958. Mr. Adjetey was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in London in 1959 and returned to Ghana in the same year where he was also called to the bar. From 1959 to 1962, Mr Adjetey worked as a Law Officer with the Attorney General's Department.

He was a part-time lecturer at the Institute of Adult Education, University of Ghana, between 1960 and 1962. He was also a part-time lecturer at the Ghana School of Law between 1964 and 1968. He also served on numerous boards at various times, including membership of the Judicial Council of Ghana from 1984 to 1989. He was the President of the Ghana Bar Association between 1985 and 1989.

Mr. Adjetey was the Member of Parliament for Kpeshie in Accra in the Third Republic (1979-1981).

He was also the leader of the United National Convention Parliamentary group during the same period. In 1995, he became Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a position he held until 1998. He was appointed the President of the African Bar Association in 2000.

Mr. Adjetey was replaced as Speaker in 2005 by Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes when the NPP refused to put him up for a second term and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) supported his candidacy.

Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Majority Leader, nominated Mr Sekyi Hughes, Member of the Council of State, as the Speaker, while Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, nominated Mr Adjetey. Mr Sekyi Hughes polled 134 votes against 96 by Mr Adjetey. 15 July 08