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04.06.2007 General News

State burial awaits Fathia

By The Ghanaian Times

Madam Fathia Nkrumah, widow if Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah is to be given a state burial in Ghana.

This follows President J.A Kufuor's acceptance of a request by the late widow's family that her body be buried in Ghana.

Fathia Nkrumah died last Thursday at the Badraway Hospital in Cairo where she had been hospitalized following a stroke she suffered last year.

A source said that negotiations were ongoing between the government and Fathia's family for the body to be flown to Ghana.

Sekou Nkrumah, one of Madam Fathia's sons, confirmed the family's decisions to have the body brought to Ghana for burial in an interview.

“I cannot exactly tell how soon the body will arrive or where exactly it will be buried but it is certain that it will be brought to Accra,” he said.

A family friend, Akyaaba Addai Sebo, who attended the consecration, held for Fathia in Cairo on Friday said that discussions between the Ghana government and the family centered on the likelihood of the former First Lady being buried beside her husband at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra, the very spot at which he declared Ghana's independence 50 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church in Cairo reputed to be the oldest Church in the world where the solemn service was held, Madam Fathia's remains were accorded reverence reserved for distinguished personalities.

Her body was laid in state at the cathedral which is a rare occurrence in the history of the church.

Pope Shenouda III and Antonious Markos, Coptic Bishop for Africa, led the congregation through Coptic Liturgy, hymns and prayers.

Staff of the Ghana Embassy in Cairo and a large number of members of the African diplomatic community in Egypt and other Africans, including students attended the ceremony.

The last democratically elected leader of Sudan, former Prime Minister Sedig Mahdi and members of his UMMA party sat in the front row.

Dr Hoda Nasser, daughter of former Prime Minister Egyptian President Nasser, two of Madam Fathia's three remaining siblings, Brother Fikry Halim Rizk and Sister Fotna Riszk, her children Gamel and Samia Nkrumah and other family members were part of the large congregation.

In a tribute, Gamel reflected on his late mother's fortitude and explained the significance of the marriage their parents to advance the noble cause of the African Union.

Source: The Ghanaian Times