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02.10.2008 Social News

Agogo Mourn Baah-Wiredu

Agogo Mourn Baah-Wiredu

Thousands of mourners poured into Agogo township yesterday to observe the one-week celebration of the death of Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and MP for Asante Akim North.

So huge was the crowd that it was as if the remains of the former minister was lying in state.

In attendance were President John Agyekum Kufuor, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, Ministers of State, MPs, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Chiefs, including the Omanhene of Agogo Traditional Area, Nana Akuoko Sarpong, the Inspector General of Police and representatives of various political parties, among others.

The New Patriotic Party was led by the national chairman, Mr Peter Mac Manu, while the National Democratic Congress was led by the Ashanti Regional Chairman, Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum.

It was not an event for speeches but a number of mourners who spoke to the Daily Graphic gave kind words about the late minister.

Nana Ofosu Boateng, on behalf of the Abusuapanin, said no date had yet been fixed for the final funeral rites.

According to him, they would have to confer with the government to come out with an appropriate date.

As at 9am when the Daily Graphic got to the town, the atmosphere was already charged, with both the young and the old in the traditional mourning apparel of black and red having already taken over the streets.

It was all wailing and the singing of dirges in typical Asante traditional style to signify the pain and agony the death of the minister had brought to the entire community.

Along the 30-km road from Konongo to Agogo, people lined the road, trying to get on vehicles to Agogo.

All schools were closed within Agogo to give teachers and students the opportunity to take part in the one-week observance.

Huge canopies were erected at the Presbyterian School Park, where the main event was held.

However, at the family house, about 500 metres away, another gathering was in place to sympathise with Obaapanin Yaa Tiape, the mother of the late minister and what a sorrowful sight it was as the old lady wept uncontrollably.

She kept telling the Daily Graphic in Twi that the son who took care of her was gone.

Obaapanin Tiape, who suffered stroke three years ago and as a result could not make it to the main funeral grounds, said nothing showed that his beloved son would leave this earth so soon.

President Kufuor, who arived at Agogo at about 4pm, drove striaght to the family house of the late minister to console the mother and other family members.

Immediately the President entered the house, everybody burst into tears.

A visibly donw-hearted President Kufuor sat queitly in his seat before he entered into discussions with the family members.

From there, Mr Kufuor drove to the main funeral grounds to greet the large assembly of mourners.

Just after the Agogohene had moved to the presidential dias to welcome Mr Kufuor, the rains set in at about 5pm cutting short the programme.

The Omanhene, who is the uncle of the late Baah-Wiredu, attended the funeral with the entire members of the traditional council.

In spite of the heavy downpour, tradition and modernity combined to present a befitting one-week funeral observance of the one-week celebration of the death of Mr Baah-Wiredu, who commanded so much respect in his area.

The throbbing of fontomfrom, kete and nnwomkro, with Amakye Dede doing his own thing, provided a mix that moved the mourners to dance and wail.

The late minister was a member of the Aduana Clan, whose symbol is the fire.

It was in line with this tradition that fire was set at the funeral grounds to symbolise the loss of a key member of that great Akan Clan.

The widow and children, backed by their family members, were fully represented at the funeral grounds.

They shed tears uncontrolably as mourners took turns to greet them.

Story by Kwame Asare Boadu & Nana Yaw Barimah