The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, did yet another unthinkable thing by given one of Ghana’s highest state awards; Order of the Volta – Companion to the lady who bore him his first daughter; a love child while they were both students at the University of Ghana, Legon.
It is not clear, what occasioned yesterday’s award to the 79-year old Virginia Hesse, said to be a retired civil servant.
For years, she had kept a low profile about herself and daughter whose name The Herald is still struggling to get.
But in 2017 at the age of 74, she was made a diplomat by President Akufo-Addo and dispatched to the Czech Republic from 2017 to 2021, as Ghana’s ambassador to the surprise of many members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
They felt the appointment of an ex-lover and a baby mama, was obscene.
But this wasn’t the only drama about yesterday’s awards, as some of the awardees stayed away from the event.
Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, a Ghanaian legal gem and a former Attorney General of Ghana and Minister for Justice, as well as Fui S. Tsikata, who were both instrumental at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) relating to the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, declined the awards.
Presidential Staffer, Charles Nii Teiko Tagoe, had taken to Facebook, shortly after the ceremony, saying “Lawyer Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and Lawyer Fui Tsikata wrote to decline the National Honours awards as Members of Ghana’s legal team at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Sad!”
But The Herald’s information is that, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and Fui S. Tsikata, wrote to the government through the Solicitor-General sometime in December, saying they were unable to accept the awards.
While, Mr Tsikata, head of Reindorf Chambers law firm in Accra, was said to have declined the award, saying he would like to keep his usual low profile, Marietta, The Herald learnt, cited personal reasons and also added that the list of nominees was not representative of those who really worked on the Ghana vs Cote d’ivoire maritime boundary dispute at ITLOS.
It is not clear, also whether Gloria Akuffo, who took over from Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, following the 2017 transition from the John Mahama government to Akufo-Addo, was part of the awardees. But her deputy, Godfred Yeboah Dame, was awarded on the day for reasons The Herald is still digging.
The ceremony, according to the President, was among other things to express the gratitude of the nation to the men and women who were entrusted with the responsibility of keeping us safe at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nana Akufo-Addo, also said that state honours were “to the men and women who made sure that the maritime boundary dispute with our immediate, western neighbour, the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, ended favourably for the Republic of Ghana, thereby, ensuring that our western maritime resources, including its oil and gas potential, rightfully remained in our possession”.
On his Facebook wall, the President had explained that “apart from these two main categories of awardees, that is the COVID and ITLOS awardees, there is a third category of awardees of a few individuals whose work deserve the plaudits of the nation”.
They are the late great philosopher, Prof. Johnson Kwame Wiredu, by common consent one of the outstanding philosophers of global repute of the modern age, who will be given a befitting posthumous award, Order of the Volta – Companion.
The rest are Ms. Margaret Sophia Darkwah, the first female Commissioner of Police; Prof. Akwasi Osei, former Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority; and Dr Veronica Agartha Martinson, former Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute, Ghana.
“It is important to state that today’s awards ceremony is a purely national event, devoid of partisan, ethnic or religious considerations, and organised solely in recognition of the services offered by its recipients to the growth, development, progress and prosperity of Ghana. I, as the President of the Republic, the Fount of Honour, act as the Head of State, and not as Head of Government, in the distribution of awards. I can happily say that I am not aware of the political sympathies or views of the overwhelming majority of today’s awardees. Their politics is of no moment to me, only their exploits in favour of Mother Ghana”.
Other awardees on the day were; Elizabeth Ohene, a former Minister in the Kufour government and head of the government Communications team, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, Henry Quartey Greater Accra Minister, Senyo Hosi, among others.