The remains of the late President John Evans Atta Mills will be subjected to an unprecedented double burial, two rituals which are intended to satisfy the demands of government on one hand and the sulking family members of the deceased on the other.
The latest development in the confusion surrounding the exact location to bury the deceased and the preceding funeral arrangements emanated from the Kofi Totobi-Quakye led Funeral Committee empanelled by government.
The Osu Castle appears to the choice for the Accra burial exercise.
According to the committee, obviously meeting the demands of the deceased's family for the return of his remains, the former president would be accorded a state burial in Accra, after which ritual the remains would be handed over to the bereaved family for final burial in his hometown of Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region.
It has been gathered that the deal was reached after consultation with the bereaved family yesterday, an engagement, which appears, came after the raging disagreement between government and the family peaked a few days ago, with a threat by elders of the departed president's family to seek a court injunction to stop the state from going ahead with the interment.
With a compromise now reached between the two sides, the late president would be accorded state courtesies and then buried, after which the remains would be exhumed and handed over to the bereaved family for re-burial in his hometown of Ekumfi Otuam.
A spokesperson for the late president's family, Sylvanus Awotwe Pratt, yesterday confirmed on Citi FM the deal reached.
State players in the arrangement, it would seem, have learnt their lessons and agreed to henceforth involve the family members in the funeral procedures until the remains are finally handed over to them for the re-burial, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.
The funeral committee tasked with the responsibility of planning the final rites of President Mills has settled on burying him at a “specially designated place in between Castle Drive and Marine Drive in Accra.”
A statement signed by Mr. Totobi-Quakye said, “The area would subsequently be developed into a presidential mausoleum.”
The earlier announcement that one of the terms of reference of the Funeral Committee is to determine a place to bury the late president has given way to a statement by the Funeral Committee that the final determination of a place to undertake the initial burial rests in the bosom of President John Mahama.
Weathering the challenges imposed by time constraint, against the backdrop of a massive public outcry against the intended burial of the former president at the Flagstaff House, the government made a U-turn to the Castle drive near the seat of government.
DAILY GUIDE reported in its yesterday's issue that Chinese workmen were busy digging nine graves close to the faÃ§ade of the Presidential Palace also called the Flagstaff House.
The work going on at a time no formal announcement about where to bury the deceased, infuriated many Ghanaians who felt that their concerns had been ignored by the government.
Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, had earlier counseled government on where to bury the former president almost to no avail.
Various conjectures have been adduced about why government would want to have the deceased buried at the Flagstaff House.
In the heat of the confusion, an announcement that the Flagstaff House had been agreed upon prompted a spontaneous public outcry, a situation which was aggravated by the disapproval by the bereaved family which demanded that like other heads of state, besides Kwame Nkrumah, their kinsman be returned to them for burial.
By A.R. Gomda