Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The one-week customary activities in honour of the late president John Evans Atta Mills, determination of his final resting place and nomination of Central Bank governor Kwesi Amissah- Arthur as vice president were some of the stories highlighted in the Ghana media this week.
“Nation in tears - President says time for unity”, was the headline of the state-owned Graphic as the traditional one-week activities following the death of the president were marked throughout the country.
The story said President John Dramani Mahama asked Ghanaians to use the occasion of the death of President Mills to forgive one another, irrespective of party affiliations.
He said there was the urgent need for Ghanaians to reconcile in the spirit of unity as they mourned the departed president.
He made the call when he joined hundreds of people at the Efua Sutherland Children’s park in Accra to observe the one-week celebration of the death of President Mills.
President Mahama joined other mourners to observe a minute’s silence at exactly 1415 GMT in memory of the president. That was the exact time he passed away on 24 July.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times had the headline “When Ghana went silent”.
The newspaper said people from all walks of life thronged the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park on Tuesday to mark the one-week celebration of the death of President Mills.
President Mahama, in a tribute, said the late President Mills led an exemplary life which should be emulated by all.
“The good book teaches us to have a heart to forgive those who wrong us,” he said.
The Ghanaian Times had another story under the headline “Tears at President Mills’ residence”.
The story said the sight of former first lady, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, brought tears to the eyes of sympathisers who had gone to celebrate the one week of the demise of her husband.
After more than a week of debate on where to bury President Mills, the government finally settled for a site in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
The Graphic had the headline “Resting place for Prez Mills”, with the story saying the late President Mills will be buried at a specially designated place between the Castle Drive and Marine Drive in Accra.
The decision was taken by President John Mahama after consultations and recommendations by the Funeral Planning Committee.
The burial has been fixed for Friday, 10 August.
A statement signed by Mr. Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Chairman of the Funeral Planning Committee, said the area so designated would be developed into a presidential mausoleum.
Earlier in the day, the funeral committee had met the family of the late President Mills and agreed to bury him in Accra.
The Graphic had a story giving details of the funeral arrangements under the headline “President Mills on ‘State Drive’ before burial on Friday".
It said the casket containing the remains of President John Evans Atta Mills will be paraded through some principal streets of Accra to afford Ghanaians the opportunity to pay their final respects.
President John Dramani Mahama and his colleague heads of state as well as ordinary Ghanaians would file past the body at the Banquet Hall of the State House from 8-10 August.
The Ghanaian Times had a story with the headline “Preparations advanced for Prez Mills’ funeral”. It said preparations of the burial ground at the Geese Park along the Castle Drive in Accra for the late President Mills took off on Friday following President Mahama’s decision that his predecessor be interred there.
As early as 0800 hours GMT, construction workers were seen at the Park excavating the specially designated site to build the tomb, while trees and flowers were being pruned along the Castle Drive to put the site in good shape.
The Graphic’s story on the selection of a vice president had the headline “Mahama selects Amissah-Arthur”.
The story said true to media speculations, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, had been nominated by the president to be considered by parliament for the position of vice president of the republic of Ghana.
It said president Mahama had communicated the choice to the Speaker of Parliament.
The Spokesperson for the president, Mr John Jinapor, said Mr. Amissah-Arthur, an economist, would now have to be approved by Parliament to be confirmed as vice president.
The story of the Ghanaian Times had the headline “Amissah-Arthur is vice prez”.
It said President Mahama had picked the central bank governor as his vice, indicating that the new president reached the decision after intense consultations and evaluation of a number of personalities shortlisted for the post, which became vacant following the sudden demise of President Mills on 24 July.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headline “Parliament to vet Amissah-Arthur”, with the story saying that vice presidential nominee would be vetted in public by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Monday morning, in accordance with the rules and procedures of the House.
The Daily Guide also had a story quoting the Eastern Regional Minister, Victor Smith, as criticising the choice of the central bank governor.
“’Amisah-Arthur: Bad choice', fumes Victor Smith”, was the headline of the newspaper.
It said Mr. Smith had ruled out the chances of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) winning the 2012 general elections if the newly-nominated vice presidential candidate, Amissah-Arthur, was maintained as the running mate to President Mahama for the December election.
Mr. Smith, Ghana’s immediate past Ambassador to the Czech Republic, said although Mr. Amissah-Arthur was a fine technocrat, he was not a marketable candidate for the 2012 NDC presidential as a running mate.
“I have known this man for quite a long time since his days as a deputy minister of finance in the 1990s and we were all walking the corridors of the Castle. He does not exude that charisma and passion for a position of a running mate,” Mr. Smith said.
In a story with the headline “Victor Smith apologises to Mahama, Amissah-Arthur", the Graphic said Mr. Smith had apologised for his comments, saying he had no ill-feelings against the nominee, who was a loyal member of the NDC.
Earlier, the Graphic carried a reaction of Mr. Amissah-Arthur under the headline “I am a strong party man - Amissah-Arthur”.
He stated that he had been in frontline politics in the ruling NDC since its formation in 1992.
He explained that contrary to claims that he had been a "back bencher” in the party after his exit as Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, he played a major role in NDC's victory in the 1992 elections after the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) had metamorphosed into a political party.
He said he was in the frontline of the 1992 and 1996 campaigns and travelled with candidate Mills throughout the country during the campaigns.
Amissah-Arthur said he had been involved in the writing of NDC manifestoes since 1992 and was a member of the group that drafted the policies of the government’s Better Ghana agenda.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 4Aug2012