I brokered peace between Kufuor and JJ after controversial 1996 general election – Kwesi Ahwoi

Ahwoi and Adu-Gyamfi siblings
The Ahwoi and Adu-Gyamfi siblings with some dignitaries at the launch of the book
  • as Ahwoi, Adu-Gyamfi siblings unveil collective biography

In an Ahwoi and Adu-Gyamfi siblings’ collective biography, former Interior Minister Kwesi Ahwoi talks of how he brokered peace between Ghana’s two former presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor respectively, during the contentious 1996 general elections.

Kwesi Ahwoi who recounted the incident at the launch of the book ‘The Children of House No. D13 South Suntresu Kumasi’, co-authored with his siblings, at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences revealed that just before J.J. Rawlings was about to approach the stage to address Ghanaians at the swearing-in ceremony following the contentious 1996 general elections, something unusual but much-needed occurred; an unexpected handshake and loving embrace with John Agyekum Kufuor.

An occurrence that took place as a result of Kwesi Ahwoi’s basic act as a courier of a written message on paper.

“As the programme drew to a close, the former deputy minister of environment, science and technology also equally sensing the tension, wrote a short note on the back page of the event programme and passed it onto Kwesi who was seated one row behind Mr. Kufuor and other opposition leaders, the note read. ‘Won’t it be nice if Mr. Kufuor will walk to the stage and shake hands with President Rawlings?’

The note acted as the spark that Kwesi has been waiting for to trigger him to cause an action. He collected the note to read, senior, this is the moment Ghana is waiting for, and Ghana needs peace. Please stand out of your group, be your jingle self and go and recognise Rawlings.

Kwesi walked Mr. Kufuor and his entourage and Mr. Birago who intended to escort them to Mr. Rawlings. On reaching the stairs of the place, Mr. Kufuor smiled and stretched out his hands, and President Rawlings, with a skilled but smiling military beam bearing, also stretched out his hand and a big handshake followed and a big embrace,” he read.

A brief history

Kufuor was a member of the assembly that drafted the constitution of the third republic during Ghana’s return to democracy in 1979, and he was elected to Parliament in 1979, serving as deputy minority parliamentary leader. Jerry John Rawlings overthrew the government in late 1981, and Kufuor remained as Rawlings’ secretary for local government. However, Kufour resigned less than a year later, expressing his dissatisfaction with the Rawlings regime.

Kufuor remained a private citizen for the rest of the decade, until Ghana returned to democratic politics in 1992. He helped found the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and was the party’s presidential candidate in 1996. Kufuor lost to Rawlings in the national election that year, and the NPP nominated him again to run in the December 2000 election.

The book

‘The Children of House Number D13, South Suntresu, Kumasi’, is a collective biography of the life stories of the eight children of Madam Maye Charlotte Hudson, also known as Esi Tutuwa but known to some people as Esi Nkwagye and to the people of South Suntresu, Kumasi as Mrs. Ahwoi.

The ‘Ahwois’ principally is the collective name of three brothers – Ato, Kwesi and Kwamena – who have played prominent roles in Ghana’s recent history, but the siblings also include five girls, Ama, Adoma, Efua, Naana and Sister Aggie, who also played their part in these thrilling stories in their own unique ways.

Reviewing the book, Ex-Chairperson of the National Media Commission (NMC), Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, lauded efforts of the late Mrs. Ahwoi, née Maye Charlotte Hudson,the person whose presence permeates the story. “Indeed, the matriarch is effectively the ninth subject of the eight children’s biographies,” he said.

The book achieves the purpose of showing the “remarkable togetherness and the mutual support system that enabled the children of House No. D13, South Suntresu, Kumasi, to overcome the many hurdles along their individual paths in life as being due to their mother, Madam Maye Charlotte Hudson (Mrs. Ahwoi).

To make such a collective recollection of personal histories work, all parties involved must be willing to take the effort seriously; equally crucial is the necessity to respect everyone’s personal history as meaningful, which this book has done.

It would be right to describe it as an exercise in literary democracy!

Not every book project results in a good book, but this one did because the project’s heart is a fantastic story. And at the centre of that excellent story is the life of these eight people, who represent human development against all odds.

Dramatis personae in order of appearance – from the womb – Ato Ahwoi, Kwesi Ahwoi, Mrs. Ama Twum, Kwamena Ahwoi, Mrs. Ama Adoma Bartels-Kodwo, Mrs. Efua Bram-Larbi, Theodora Naana Adu Gyamfi and Mrs. Agnes Appiagyei-Dankah. Theodora Naana Adu-Gyamfi passed away at the age of 28 and so her role ends early except in passing references.

However, it is worth recalling that before she died, and in an act that exemplifies the major theme of this book, Naana secretly transferred all the money in her own bank account into that of her six-year-old niece, Abena Tutuwa Ahwoi, the daughter of her brother, Kwamena.

The structure of the narrative, which makes it possible to flow, is simply to follow the fortunes of these siblings sequentially in turn through the main phases of their development. The person whose presence permeates the story is the matriarch – Mrs. Ahwoi, née Maye Charlotte Hudson.

There were readings of favourite excerpts from the book by Mrs. Agnes Appiagyei-Dankah (née Adu- Gyamfi); Mrs. Efua Bram-Larbi (née Ahwoi); Mrs. Ama Adoma Bartels-Kodwo (née Ahwoi); Kwamena Ahwoi; Mrs. Ama Twum (née Ahwoi); Kwesi Ahwoi; and Ato Ahwoi.

The event was chaired by Professor Dora Edu-Buandoh, immediate past Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC); with the keynote address delivered by Professor Kwesi Botchwey, Former Minister of Finance; and the formal book launch performed by Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies.

The book, ‘The Children of House No. D13 South Suntresu, Kumasi’, was published by DigiBooks Ghana Ltd.


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