Amissah-Arthur: Tears flow as Ghanaians bid farewell

BY: Severious Kale-Dery and Emelia Ennin Abbey

Emotions, tears, grief and shock Friday characterised the solemn funeral service which was held for former Vice- President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur in Accra before he was finally laid to rest at the Military Cemetery at Burma Camp.

The service of song ministrations, tributes and a sermon, was attended by hundreds of mourners, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Members of Parliament, some government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and people from all walks of life.

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Also in attendance were former Presidents John Dramani Mahama, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Jerry Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings; the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, and the Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo.

Also present were leaders and members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party Amissah-Arthur belonged to, members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), staff of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), where he last worked before assuming the office of Vice-President, and representatives of the other political parties.

Tears


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Some of the mourners broke down when tributes were being read. The wife, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, stirred emotions as she virtually abandoned her text and expressed disquiet about the lies, treachery and mischievousness which were machinated against her husband when he was alive.

Before the service began, amid elaborate security arrangements, the dignitaries and the rest of the mourners were offered the opportunity to file past the casket of the statesman.

Dignitaries

The first part of the programme, which lasted about three hours, started with Methodist hymns, while the second part saw the reading of his biography and tributes by his siblings, mother, children and his wife, after which Dr Bawumia read the tribute by the government of Ghana.

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The ceremony was interlaced with musical interludes by the Harmonious Chorale and the Ebibindwom. There were also scripture readings after which the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the Most Reverend Titus Awotwi-Pratt, delivered the sermon.

Commercial activities

Some traders also took advantage of the occasion to cash in as they were seen selling paraphernalia of the NDC, food items and water, while commercial photographers were also busy capturing images of patrons for a fee.

After the over three-hour service, the casket of the former Vice-President, which was draped in national colours, was carried by six soldiers in a military cortege.

At the forecourt of the Accra International Conference Centre, scores of mourners and sympathisers waved their handkerchiefs to bid him farewell.

Some of the mourners used their mobile phones and tablets to capture the casket and last moments of the life of a political dinosaur on earth.

Thereafter, the funeral cortege moved on at a snail’s pace through some principal streets of Accra for the public to pay their last respects before the remains of the former Vice- President were interred at the Military Cemetery at Burma Camp.