Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The funeral of Ghana’s late president John Evans Atta Mills that brought the country to a standstill in an unprecedented show of grief and unity, and the swearing in of the governor of the central bank, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, as vice president dominated the media in Ghana this week.
The three-day state funeral for president Mills ended with his burial in Accra on Friday with full military honours after a funeral service attended by tens of thousands of people, including more than a dozen presidents and many dignitaries across the globe.
“THE END” was the banner headline of the state-owned Daily Graphic which carried a photograph of the casket before it was lowered into the grave.
The story said President Mills was on Friday laid to eternal rest with full military honours. After lying in state from Wednesday morning to Friday morning at the Banquet Hall of the State House, a state funeral service was conducted at the Independence Square on a day declared as a national day of mourning.
Being Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Mills had his casket draped in the national colours and brought to the funeral ground on a gun-carriage moving on a red carpet escorted by eight pall bearers of Brigadier-General rank. It was the same venue where he was inaugurated as the president of Ghana on 7 January 2009.
It said the solemn funeral service was attended by foreign government delegations and distinguished personalities from across the world. About 50,000 Ghanaians also attended the funeral service.
“Mourners go ‘wild’” was another headline in the Graphic of Saturday. It said thousands of Ghanaians were on Friday moved to uncontrollable tears as the cortege containing the mortal remains of President Mills made a tour of some principal streets of Accra before interment.
They virtually “chased” the cortege on foot for the about 30 minutes “state” drive.
“It was a sight to behold as ordinary citizens, as a sign of their respect for the departed president, defied security challenges to give a rousing send-off to President Mills.”
The state-owned Ghanaian Times had five photographs of scenes from the funeral of president Mills on its front and back pages.
“President Mills laid to rest” was one of several stories in carried on the inside pages. The story said President Mills was finally laid to rest on Friday afternoon, amidst weeping by many dignitaries who gathered at the burial grounds at the Asomdwe (Peace) park, near the Castle, the seat of government, in Accra.
The Times said as casket containing the mortal remains of the fallen leader started its slow descent into the grave at 3:15 pm, many government officials, family members, security officers and others who lined up along the street, broke down in tears.
After the burial service at the Independence Square, the cortege went through some principal streets before emerging at the serene and newly named Asomdwe (Peace) Park on the Castle Drive.
“Let’s sustain the peace – Prez” was another headline in the Times. President John Mahama says the death of President Mills should serve as a catalyst for the county to consolidate the prevailing peace and forge ahead in unity.
He stressed in a tribute he read at the funeral that Ghanaians should open a new chapter of tolerance and civility, as a way of honouring the legacy and memory of the late leader.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide in a story on the public viewing of the body said Ghanaians from all walks of life on Thursday continued trooping to the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra to pay their last respects to their fallen leader.
“Hundreds of thousands of people defied all odds to join long queues stretching from both sides of the entrance to the State House to catch a glimpse of the mortal remains of the late president.”
It said the mourners including chiefs, queen-mothers, heads of various institutions, the clergy, journalists, lawyers, the elderly and women and children queued for several hours in anticipation of having the opportunity to pay their last respects to the departed president.
Another story in the Daily Guide with the headline “Tears flow for Mills” said thousands of Ghanaians including high-profile personalities could not hold back their tears at the State House as they paid their last respects to President John Evans Atta Mills.
“Ghana stands still for Prez Mills,” was the headline of a story in the Graphic.
It said Ghana virtually stood still on the second day (Thursday) of the state funeral for president Mills who passed away at the 37 Military Hospital on 24 July.
Official and private businesses grinded to a halt as a large number of Ghanaians thronged the Banquet Hall of the State House to pay their last respects to the late president.
The Ghanaian Times had the headline “Mills bids goodbye”
On the swearing in of the new vice president, the Daily Guide had the headline “Amissah-Arthur sworn in.”
The story said Kwesi Amissah-Arthur was on Monday night sworn into office as Vice President of Ghana after a marathon vetting and unanimous approval by Parliament.
The Vice President was sworn in by Chief Justice Georgina Wood in Parliament immediately after the House gave him the nod.
President John Mahama, who took office as president following the death of President Mills on 24 July, 2012, nominated Amissah-Arthur, the then Governor of the Central Bank, as his Vice.
The Graphic story under the headline “Veep takes office,” said the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur is the new Vice President.
After three hours of vetting earlier in the day, the Appointments Committee of Parliament recommended Mr Amissah-Arthur’s nomination to Parliament for approval by consensus.
The House agreed not to debate the motion which was moved by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho after presenting the report of the committee to the House.
His motion was seconded by the Minority Leader and Ranking Member of the Appointments Committee, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The headline of the Ghanaian Times read “Paa Kwesi, 5th Veep” with the story saying Mr Amissah-Arthur becomes the fifth vice president since the Fourth Republican Constitutional rule was introduced in 1992.
-0- PANA MA 11Aug2012