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Tribute to our Dear Uncle Captain Kojo Tsikata by Ambassador Bukari Moses Mabengba, Ghana’s Ambassador to Angola 2014-2017.
I served as a PNDC District Secretary for Saboba/Chereponi District from 1988-1993 and NDC MP for Saboba from 1993-2001. All this while, I never got the opportunity to meet Uncle Captain Kojo Tsikata personally. I only read and heard of him from newspapers and colleagues respectively. My moment to meet him personally came in 2010 when I was Northern Region Minister. Former President J. J Rawlings on one of his visits to Tamale to mourn the death of our former NDC Regional Chairman (Alhaji Sumani Zakaria), turned the occasion to a direct verbal attack on Captain Kojo Tsikata and then President Evans Attah Mills. I had accompanied him to the event and was very uncomfortable when that verbal attack was going on. After the event I called President Attah Mills on phone to immediately report the incident. I did not have the telephone number of Uncle Kojo Tsikata so I called Dr Mutawaikilu Iddrisu, a retired Neuro Surgeon of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and requested him to arrange for me and the late Chairman’s family to visit Captain Tsikata to report the incident. Within days a successful meeting was arranged at his residence in Abelemkpe. That was a humbling experience.
Captain Kojo Tsikata gave us a fatherly reception and encouraged us to forget the incident. According to him, all was well and good. As I left his presence I began to wonder ‘ what a perfect gentleman he was?’ My day was really made. He gave me his telephone number and I too could call him anytime I wanted to greet him. Then came my appointment as Ghana’s Ambassador to Angola with concurrent accreditation to Gabon in 2013. While I was awaiting my letters of credence I called him and requested to seek his wise counsel before moving to Angola. I was immediately given audience by him and four two hours he schooled me about Angola, especially on what to do or not do and capped it with some contacts of senior members of the Angolan government I should meet in Angola to make my work easier. I was really on cloud nine after that second encounter with Uncle Tsikata. So in Angola because of the name of Captain Kojo Tsikata and President Kwame Nkrumah, I was really respected and honoured. I was the envy of my colleague African Ambassadors in Luanda. I kept close contact with him anytime I visited Ghana. The icing on the cake came in 2015 when Uncle Captain Kojo Tsikata was invited to Luanda for the 40th Anniversary of Angola’s Independence. I was at the Airport to welcome him but alas the Angolan government officials will not let me have access complete control of his arrival and movement to his hotel. I was told jokingly that they (Angolans) love Captain Kojo Tsikata more than us (Ghanaians).
This was the man Captain Tsikata. This time around I had enough time with him and he honoured my invitation to him to have dinner with me and the Embassy staff at my official residence. You can imagine how I felt when he arrived for the dinner. I used that UNIQUE opportunity to tell him all the challenges the Ghana Embassy was facing. The official Ambassador’s residence had not been renovated for years and we could not boast of even one reliable vehicle at the time. He spoke very little about it, but assured me that he will talk to President John Mahama and Foreign Minister Hon Hannah Tetteh about our appalling situation on his return. True to his promise, two months after his departure from Angola, the Foreign Ministry found the resources that were hitherto not available to renovate the Ambassador’s residence, Chancery and staff accommodation. Our two rekitty vehicles were restored to good health and two new vehicles, a 4×4 Prado and a saloon car were added to our fleet of vehicles.
In a matter of six months after his visit our Embassy bounced back and I began to enjoy my duty tour with Dignity. All in all, our illustrious and gallant Uncle Captain Kojo has paid his dues to Ghana ,Angola, Africa and the world. He will be sorely missed, but forever in our Hearts. OBRIGADO from the staff of the Ghana Embassy in Angola. Fare thee well Commandant!! Rest in Peace. AMEN.