Dear Comrade K. Botch,
Goodbye, Comrade, goodbye, wherever you are going or wherever you have gone.
You played your part; you paid your dues.
You were there at the beginning. You were in the trenches with us – the commitment, the endurance, the sacrifices, the fortitude, the resoluteness – we, with you, the founding fathers of the revolution – together with the maestro and the enigma himself, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings.
The wisdom and the visionary choices, culminating in the creation and sustenance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a successor political party to the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) –you were there!
The long debates, philosophical and ideological combats at the Osu Castle Chapel : Those crunch late night with the usual combatants – Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, Justice Daniel Francis Annan, Captain Kojo Tsikata (Rtd.), Paul Victor Obeng, Alhaji Mahama Idrissu, Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah, J. H. Owusu-Acheampong, Goosie Tandoh, Sam Garbah, Dr. Tony Aidoo, Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Mrs. Cecilia Johnson, Madam Sherry Ayittey, Kwame Peprah, Kwamena Ahwoi, Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, Alhaji Huudu Yahya, Nana Ato Dadzie, the Cadres and unsung heroes, etc etc – Yes, you were a constant presence in those make -or-break meetings.
The story in the history needs to be recorded and preserved. That is why you have left us wondering what happened to our agreement to produce a book of essays on our individual experiences of that historic era laying the foundation for Ghana’s stability and development. Have you left your contribution behind?
That history is a must-read for all who wish to join or lead the great NDC. That is the only way to honour and preserve the memory and legacy of that group of relatively young men and women who were determined to change the course of the country’s history.
K. Botch, you should be celebrated.
We were privileged to have had you in our pursuit of a common goal of selfless service and dedication to the nation, determined to push back our country from the edge of the precipice.
You were amongst the genuine and committed nationalists to lead the country from drought, bush fires, hunger, deportations and natural and unnatural catastrophes.
K. Botch, you were there in the trenches!
You inspired hope in a brighter future.
You shared your vision of an economy in doldrums that could be put back to work.
You toured the country in your short-sleeved shirt.
You spoke in English, Fantse, Ga, Asante and Hausa so our people could understand and buy into our vision.
Many were the skeptics but you carried the majority of the country with you. Ghanaians gave your blueprint the benefit of the doubt. Your name became synonymous with the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP): Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). Financial Sector Adjustment Programme (FINSAP).Public Financial Management Reform Programme (PUFMARP Programme of Actions to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment and Development (PAMSCAD).
K. Botch, these were all initiatives from your time. You were a remarkable Finance Minister. A Finance Minister extraordinaire!
You fielded some of the most difficult and piercing economic questions. Your simple and honest answers were unvarnished with archetypal quotes. Your intellectual acumen and dexterity is now sorely missed in the economic management space of the country.
You charmed and wooed over the skeptics with your quiet but confident disposition. Ever so eloquent and articulate , you had a unique way with words .
You were ready for a debate any day, any time.
You had a discerning character which reflected in your political flexibility.
At the University, you were a Marxist.
Then you turned a centre leftist.
But when the practicalities of turning round a moribund economy hit you, you became a pragmatic economist, even though your training was in Law.
The overall interest of the people became your credo.
When Nigeria’s President Shehu Shagari turned off the oil taps to Ghana and the young leftist Turks within the PNDC system responded saying:” Don’t mind Shagari; our people will walk”, you famously retorted: “For how long will our people walk and for how long can our people walk?”
Finding an answer to that pragmatic question was what took us to the doorsteps of the Bretton-Woods Institutions.
Your detractors said you were a traitor. We said you were a patriot and pragmatist.
Ten years into the Economic Recovery Programme(ERP) , you were more than vindicated. Ghana had come out of the woods; we had stepped back from the edge of the precipice. Ours had become an emergent economy. We had also emerged as a nascent democracy. Ghana had been re-born!
How sweet it was to see you decorated on 13th December, 2015, honored for your years of meritorious service to the motherland with the State Honour of the “Companion of the Volta” by none other than the Head of State himself, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama!
Today, when the darkening shadow of an economic meltdown seems to be engulfing us, how we wished the wise old K. Botch was around to offer refreshing perspectives on how to get us off the edge of the precipice once again.
But there you are, gone with that gem of a brain you possessed.
We can only wipe the tears flowing down our cheeks.
But you have also ordered us not to cry. So cry, we shall not. But remember you, we shall.
We will miss you, K. Botch.
Fare thee well, Dear Comrade!
Adieu, and Ciao, as you used to say.
Your revolutionary Comrades