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11.08.2012 General News

Massive Turnout At Mills Funeral

By Daily Guide
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Unofficial estimates put the number of people who stormed the Independence Square to witness the official funeral ceremony of late President John Evans Atta Mills at over 10,000.

The figure was even more overwhelming at the immediate vicinities around the Independence Square; several groups were gathered chanting funeral songs. Some were genuinely grieving, while the action of others was vastly influenced by a drunken stupor acquired from nearby liquor bars.

Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicated that the Funeral Planning Committee (FPC), headed by Kofi Totobi Quakyi, was surprised at the massive turnout.

Initially, the FPC pegged the number of people it was expecting at the funeral grounds at about 5,000.

However, this figure was vastly overshot by the eventual turnout.

The VIP stands were filled to the brim, while the public gallery overflowed with mourners of all shades and colours.

At the public gallery, several people who could not get seats virtually stood throughout the almost three-hour programme. The atmosphere at the ceremony was generally decorous; the only low point was when the printed programme schedule was being distributed.

There was a mad scramble for the highly scarce literature that contained useful information about the programme and about the biography of the demised president.

But this scramble was quickly quelled by security operatives detailed to the venue. The general air of orderliness at the funeral contrasted sharply with the confusion that characterized the two days that late President Mills was laid in state.

When he was laid in state, hordes of crowd terrorized the security personnel who appeared almost ill-prepared for the rare task of keeping order among thousands of mourners gathered in one place.

At the funeral, DAILY GUIDE observed that the general public and the invited dignitaries that graced the occasion were all calm.

Indeed, there were dignitaries from all over the world. According to official estimates, government representatives of over 53 countries worldwide were present at the funeral ceremony.

The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, who arrived on Thursday evening, was on the high-table dressed in her smart suit alongside other representatives from several African, Latin American, Asian and European countries.

After the funeral proceedings, the corpse of the late president was driven through some principal streets around the city amidst wailing by by-standers. Some mourners clad in the traditional black and red attires trotted along the slow rolling entourage carrying the corpse throughout its journey until it reached the Osu Castle drive where entry was restricted to a few privileged people.

Indeed, the capital came to virtual standstill when the corpse was being transported to its final destination.

Taxi drivers, trotro drivers, hawkers and traders completely abandoned their commerce to catch a glimpse of the casket carrying the mortal remains of Ghana's first president to die in office.

BY Raphael Adeniran

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