A book of condolence has opened from today to Friday, November 20 at the Foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre for the late former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
The State Protocol Department announced on last Saturday.
A statement signed by the Head of Protocol at the Office of Vice President and Moderator of the Signing of Book of Condolence, Nana Enoch Osei-Mensah, has therefore deflated the propaganda of the National Democratic Congress who claimed they were not being allowed to show their respect to the party's founder by signing the book.
The opposition NDC shed crocodile tears on Friday with its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia claiming that the party's flagbearer, ex-President John Dramani Mahama was prevented from signing Rawlings' book of condolence by state officials.
The NDC whose leaders – Asiedu Nketia who once described their own founder Mr Rawlings as a 'barking dog' and Mr. Mahama who once said the NDC is no longer going to worship the 'Ewe demi-god' in reference to the founder's dominance in the Volta Region – is creating the impression that the funeral of Mr. Rawlings is being hijacked by the NPP and President Akufo-Addo.
However, the State Protocol Department set the records straight and said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions put in place, things will be done differently this time around.
It said the book would be opened today, between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye expected to be the first person to sign it.
The Speaker would be followed by the Chief Justice and members of Judicial Council as well as Justices of the Supreme Court before former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama.
Between the hours of 10:50 am to 11:20 am have been reserved for former First and Second Ladies of the Republic, while the Chief of Staff of the Republic, Akosua Osei Frema Opare would have her turn by 12 noon, the statement indicated.
The Chairman and members of the Council of State as well as Members of Parliament (MPs) would take their turns between 12:15 pm to 2:00 pm and they would be followed by presidential aspirants and other political leaders.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 has been reserved for heads of the security services and religious bodies as well as Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
Nana Osei-Mensah stated that retired security officers, traditional leaders, and OAA/AKORA (Achimota School) would sign on Wednesday whereas Thursday and Friday would be for Heads of Government Institutions and the general public.
Meanwhile, the office of former President Jerry John Rawlings has informed the public that the family of the late former President would only receive visitors who have pre-arranged appointments.
It urged individuals or organisations to kindly book appointments “by calling 0264444464”, and added that “Ghanaians from all walks of life are urged to visit the Ghana International Conference Centre to sign the book of condolence opened in honour of the late President by the state.”
“Due to COVID-19 protocols, the office kindly informs all groups and institutions who obtain appointments and that, visitors with appointments who arrive at the former President's office without nose masks will not be allowed in,” it stressed.
No One Week Ceremony
In a statement released to the media, the Office of former President Jerry John Rawlings also informed the general public that there would be no one week ceremony, and that “all flyers and other communication announcing such a ceremony are false and should be ignored.”
“The general public is informed that Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings is well and has not been admitted to any hospital. She was present when President Akufo-Addo and former President Mahama called on the family on Friday, November 13,” the statement concluded.