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Valerie Anne Sackey, Rawlings’ speech writer is dead

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Mrs. Valerie Anne Sackey, who was the Director of the Castle Information Bureau during the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) administration from 1982 to 1992, and of the Public Affairs Secretariat in President Jerry John Rawlings’ office from 1992 to 2001, has died.

She passed dead on December 31, 2023, according to newstitbits.com.

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The J.J. Rawlings Foundation announced her death on January 2, 2024, according to the article.

Valerie Sackey (née Valerie Anne Lindoe) was born in 1935 in Accrington, England, to Valentine Lindoe, Principal of Accrington institution of Art, and Nancy Lindoe, an arts teacher at the institution.

She met and married Mr. Horace Walter Kofi Sackey while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and moved to Ghana three days after independence in March 1957.

When she first arrived in Ghana, she taught Geography at Opoku Ware Secondary School before joining the Department of Game and Wildlife and being assigned to the Kumasi Zoo.

In 1969, when her husband was appointed as a Minister of State in the Progress Party administration led by Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, she relocated to Accra and continued to work for the Department of Game and Wildlife.

Mrs. Valerie Sackey transferred to the Kumasi unit of the Department of Game and Wildlife after the fall of the Progress Party administration in 1972, and subsequently to teaching at St. Louis Secondary School in Kumasi.

During this time, she wrote for the Pioneer newspaper under the pen name Yaa Asantewaa on a variety of topics.

Her straightforward and commonsense approach to topics earned her a large following in a culture that is prone to adopting euphemisms to get around the painful reality of our sociopolitical lives.

In one of these pieces, she harshly attacked the PNDC’s different leaders for touring across the country haranguing the people on radio and television, and she recommended them to take a tape recorder and hear themselves speak.

This grabbed the attention of the Revolutionary Leader. Lt. J. J. Rawlings, who secretly agreed with her expressed sentiments and asked to speak with her. He was astonished, however, to see that she was white.

Following many contacts with her, Rawlings invited her to join his personal office staff to oversee his speeches, talks with local and international media, and formal Press Statements.

Her duties also included handling complaints and petitions to his office, as well as replying to correspondence from the general public.

With the help of Kwasi Opoku Acheampong, editor of the Pioneer in 1980-81, the Castle Information Bureau and the Public Affairs Secretariat grew to be the most powerful and  effective administrative organs of the Rawlings personal administrative units.

Mrs. Valerie Sackey continued to work in the late President’s office after 2001, assisting with speeches, interviews, and other media-related concerns.

Her children, Michael Sackey (London), Joseph Sackey (Los Angeles), and Anne Asantewaa Sackey (Accra), as well as seven grandchildren, survive her.

Her final funeral arrangements will be revealed soon.

 

 

 

 

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