When the fallen President goes home
Ghanaians love the dead. But the show of emotions being exhibited in all sectors of society, following the departure to glory of President John Evans Atta Mills defies description.
This was one Head of State who received the most bashing for the failure of the economy to respond to treatment in spite of roof-top advertisements of building a better Ghana. But the moment his death was announced by Chief of Staff John Henry Martey Newmann on Tuesday, July 24, the public show of grief has since been ceaseless.
In effect, the President has aroused more interest in his leadership of this nation in death than when he sat at Government House as Head of State.
Apparently, the need to give him a burial that could match the grief has given the Funeral Committee of mainly National Democratic Congress gurus a lot of headaches.
On Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Information James Agyenim Boateng issued a statement indicating that the state was considering partnering the late President with his mentor, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, at the Nkrumah Mausoleum. There was the thinking too that the fallen Head of State should be buried at the Jubilee House.
This brought the extended family to its feet. A delegation from Ekumfi Otuam insisted on their son being sent to rest permanently at the seaside in the largest town in the newly-created Ekumfi District.
Like the first President of Ghana, Prof. Mills will have two burial grounds. After the official burial ceremony to be attended by world leaders in Accra, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills' body would be dispatched to Ekumfi Otuam to rest permanently.
The Chronicle is happy that after a long wrangling the role of the family has been recognised at last. This nation has had a history of departed heads of state resting permanently in their hometowns.
Apart from Dr. Nkrumah's body resting in Accra as a result of a political decision, all others are resting permanently in their ancestral homes. It is not for anything that when a person dies the notion is that he or she has joined his/her ancestors.
The expression, we would like to believe, connotes that the deceased has gone home to be part of the ancestors. The ancestors, invariably, are found in glory in the ancestral home of the dear departed.
That is why The Chronicle toasts to the success of the negotiating team in agreeing with the family to let the good professor rest at home.
This decision would have to take on board the need to create the enabling atmosphere for visitors to Otuam for the second burial to have he minimum comfort for their stay, as well as providing for the well-being of the natives of Otuam.
We would like to believe that the road linking Otuam to Essuehyia Junction, now under construction, would be finished on time for the many visitors to enjoy a smooth journey, devoid of dust.
It would be appropriate too to provide the town folks with decent places of convenience. It is sad to state that the presidential hometown has no reliable public places of convenience at the moment.
The Chronicle is drawing attention to the acute shortage of water at Otuam, and indeed, the whole of the Ekumfi District. Through the initiative of the late Head of State, an attempt was made to provide water through the Essarkyir Water Works with a European Union financial of 33 million Euros. Unfortunately, the dam, now under construction, collapsed and progress has been rather too slow.
The Chronicle is asking for the expedition of action on the water works to enable water to flow to Otuam by the time the date for the second burial is fixed. It would also be ideal if the Mills family home at Otuam, which is now in a very bad state of repair, is also fixed. It is a very good idea for the fallen President to go home. We hope and pray that the facilities that would make the journey worthwhile, would be provided to ensure that the town folks could have something to be proud of the son who rose to lead the whole nation.