Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah was born in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. He is the last of seven children. Though his late parents were farmers and illiterate, they valued education and ensured all their children attended school. He started his primary education at Juaso Local Authority Primary School in Juaso.
He sat for Common Entrance Examination in Form Two and gained admission into Prempeh College. However, due to the lack of funds, he lost his place at Prempeh. He later enrolled at Jachie-Pramso Secondary School near Lake Bosumtwi.
The school’s campus was spread in the twin towns of Jachie and Pramso. This meant that his was daily commute on foot from the boarding house to classroom was about eight kilometres. At secondary school, young Attafuah became the President of the debate club, which allowed him to debate with students from all over Ghana on various social and national issues. After his Ordinary Level examination, he gained admission to St. Peter’s Boys Senior High School where he did his Advanced Level examination.
After his Sixth Form course, he gained admission into the University of Ghana, Legon, to pursue courses in sociology, political science, and philosophy. He graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
Prof Attafuah did his National Service at the University of Ghana, Legon, as a Teaching Assistant until 1983. He was appointed a tutor at the Abuakwa State College in Kibi in the Eastern Region. While at Abuakwa, he applied and gained scholarship from the Volta Aluminum Company Trust Fund to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. Upon completion of the programme, he enrolled at the Simon Fraser University for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in criminology.
He also schooled at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, New Westminster, Canada, and EcoleInternationaled ’Administration Publique, Paris, France.
He returned to Ghana and was called to the Ghana Bar as a Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana. As a legal practitioner, he had held many positions in Ghana and around the world. He was appointed the Executive Secretary of Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission from 2002 to 2004.
He is the Managing Solicitor of Ken Attafuah Law Place, an Accra-based private law firm, specialising in the provision of timely and effective solutions to legal problems.
His practice includes human rights, criminal, corporate, constitutional and commercial law. His technical expertise has been tapped as an expert witness in extradition proceedings in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. He had consulted widely in human rights, gender mainstreaming, conflict resolution and transitional justice issues in countries like Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, Peru, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Togo.
The centerpiece of Prof Ken Attafuah’s enduring human rights concern is the prevention of discrimination and the promotion of human dignity for all. Prof Attafuah previously served as an Adjudicator with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, where he determined claims of refugee applicants from all over the world to convention refugee status in Canada. He is also a former Commissioner for Human Rights in British Columbia, Canada.
Key appointments and capacities Professor Attafah had served included Executive Secretary of the National Reconciliation Commission, the Management Consultant to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the UN’s International Technical Advisor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia.
He had also been an Associate Professor of Governance and Leadership at the Ghana Institute of Professional Studies (GIMPA), Director of Anti-Corruption, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Chief Investigator and Director of Operation at CHRAJ as well as the Crime Prevention Policy Advisor/Analyst, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, West Vancouver Detachment, Canada. He is a renowned and respected voice in both local and international media (BBC, VOA, etc.,) on issues of human rights, gender, crime and justice, policing and security.
In January 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appointed him first in an acting capacity to head the National Identification Authority (NIA). At the time of his appointment, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Law at Central University in Ghana. As head of the identification authority, he is overseeing the nationwide rollout of the Ghana card—a modern identification system and a smart identity card for Ghanaians.
His extensive publications include the authoritative and much-acclaimed book, “Fighting Armed Robbery in Ghana (2008).”
Prof Attafuah is married to Joyce Attafuah with whom they have four children.