Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah
Many people admire her for her eloquence and patience in explaining matters which affect individuals and society at large.Due to these exceptional qualities, she is even liked by people in the opposition parties. She is Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Minister of Trade and Industry.
In a chat with the Junior Graphic in her office, Ms Tetteh attributed her distinct qualities to the fact that communication is an important tool in every endeavour.
“It is always important to listen and understand the point of view of others during a conversation or an interaction,” she explained.
Ms Tetteh, who is light skinned and described by many as being a Caucasian, explained that she was light-skinned because she has a Hungarian mother and a Ghanaian father who hails from Awutu-Obrachire in the Central Region.
According to her, her father, the late Dr Emmanuel Ababio-Tetteh, and her mother, Dr (Mrs) Anna Tetteh, both medical doctors, gave birth to her on May 3, 1967 at Szeged in Hungary.
However, she started her early education in the United Kingdom where her parents had moved to work but they returned to Ghana in 1976 and she was enrolled in Class Four at the University Primary School in Cape Coast.
She sat for the Common Entrance Examination there and gained admission to the Wesley Girls’ High School in 1978. She obtained both her GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates at that school, completing in 1985.
She entered the University of Ghana in 1986 and obtained a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) degree in 1989. Between 1989 and 1992, she studied at the Ghana School of Law in Accra and obtained a Barrister-at-Law (B.L) degree.
Sharing her experiences in the boarding house with the paper, Ms Tetteh said Wesley Girls’ was a “girlie environment” but one thing that was key was that the school focused on discipline and academic laurels.
“Though I was not an athlete, I was a good cheer leader and I participated in other social club activities and never missed entertainment segments,” she said with a smile.
Ms Tetteh, who is fond of her father and her home town of Awutu-Obrachire, said her late father was her coach.
“He encouraged me to read widely, helped me in discussing question papers after examinations and, above all, we thrashed out various political issues,” she recollected.
No wonder she grew up to become a giant politician.
Ms Tetteh, who is the first of four siblings, all females, shared some of her experiences at Awutu-Obrachire. According to her, her father had a vast oil palm plantation and, therefore, he always sent the children there to carry palm seedlings for planting.
“There was no negotiation at all, as it was mandatory for all of us to go to the farm to work. We worked on the coconut and orange farms as well, without complaining, because my dad wanted us to have a feel of what he went through before he became a medical doctor,” she emphasised.
Ms Tetteh was quick to add that there was beauty in a well established farm, adding, “It is always a delight to walk through the farm when finally the orange, coconut and palm trees grew and blossomed with fruits on them.”
“One important thing my dad inculcated in us was knowing our roots,” she added.
She said because her parents had two different traditions and lifestyles, her dad ensured that they always participated in the Awubia Festival of the Awutus, during which they got the opportunity to meet their other relations.
It was this strong bond with her people which led her to win the Awutu Senya Constituency seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress to represent the people in Parliament from 2001 to 2004.
Ms Tetteh worked as a Legal Officer with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) (1992-1993) and entered private legal practice with Ansa-Asare & Co. Hencil Chambers, Accra, between 1993 and 1994. She was a Legal Officer with the Commission on Human Rights & Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) between March and August 1995.
She has held the following positions with the Ghana Agro Food Company Limited — Legal Adviser between 1995 and 1997 and Human Resource & Legal Services Manager between 1998 and 1999.
She was also the Deputy General Manager, Administration & Legal, between January and December 2000 and General Manager, Administration & Legal, from 2005 to 2009.
She was appointed Minister for Trade and Industry in the President John Evans Atta Mills government in February 2009.
Ms Tetteh, who is a staunch Methodist, has two children, Carla and Colin.