Elders and residents of Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region are demanding the mortal remains of the late president John Mills.
They say the body has to be brought back to its hometown for a befitting burial, his status as president notwithstanding.
Speaking to Joy News Central Region correspondent Richard Kojo Nyarko, some of the residents still doubted the news of the president’s death and needed the corpse, not only as evidence, but to find out if he died a natural death or was murdered.
They were emphatic all great men of Otuam were buried at home and president Mills will be no exception.
Already, President John Mahama has hinted the state will be liaising with the family to provide a befitting burial for the late president.
He was however silent on where the body will be laid to rest.
But before that decision will be made, the former first Deputy Speaker of Parliament and presently the Board Chairman of the Ghana Refugee Board Ken Dzirasah has some suggestions.
He told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum must be expanded to bury the country’s departed ex-presidents.
He said instead of throwing late presidents in locations which give little honour to the country and the position they occupied, a centralized place such as the Nkrumah mausoleum must be considered.
According to him, the memories of the late Akufo-Addo, KA Busia, Hilla Limann have all too soon transitioned into a state of oblivion because they were buried in places less than dignified.
Ken Dzirasah said the country must develop sustainable processes to follow in order that our departed presidents are buried at a national centralized location.
That he said will be a better way of recording Ghana’s political history.
Custom and Tradition
But a Constitutional lawyer Nana Asante Bediatuo disagreed with some of the sentiments by Dzirasah.
He posited by the country’s law, custom and tradition, the family is the bonafide owner of a corpse irrespective of the social standing.
He said the state must engage the family to find an acceptable place of burial for the late President Mills but if the family insists on owning its corpse the state must oblige.
He was also vehement in his disagreement with Dzirasah on the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum being turned into a national place of burial for ex-presidents.
He averred the mausoleum was built exclusively in honour of Ghana’s first president and must be kept as such.
He was of the opinion however that if a sitting president dies, as happened to the late president John Mills then he can be buried at the Military Cemetry in Osu because that person until his death was the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
He has no difficulty if the corpses of ex-presidents- who were not in office before their death- are buried in places so selected by the families.
Nana Asante Bediatuo said that could be a source of tourism and a source of revenue for people in the traditional areas as are the case in Guollu where Dr Hilla was buried and where Dr Busia was buried.