The family of President Evans Atta Mills is against the government’s decision to bury the departed president without consulting the family in all the funeral preparations.
The funeral planning committee is headed by Kofi Totobi Quakyi, a former National Security Minister.
Kojo Ampiah, the head of the Odomna family of Otuam, where the late president hailed from, told DAILY GUIDE that President Mills’s family was virtually ignored in the whole process.
For instance, he complained that the date for the funeral was unilaterally picked without due consultation with the family. According to the peeved family head, the late president belonged to a family and whatever the state was doing, it needed to seek the family’s consent.
The government’s funeral planning committee has chosen August 8 to 10 for the final funeral rites of the deceased president.
However, President Mills’s family members had insisted they would not accept the date set for the funeral, except detailed consultations were done.
“We will meet the parliamentarians at Parliament House on Thursday and that will determine whether we have to postpone the date or not,” he told DAILY GUIDE yesterday.
On Tuesday, another family head, Nana Ankomah Ogya-Boafo VIII, Queen of Gyinankomah, confirmed the anger and bile running through the late president’s family. She was interviewed on an Accra-based radio station, Okay FM.
According to her, most of the consultations done by the Totobi Quakyi-led committee were done with late President Mills’s in-laws in Cape Coast instead of those in Ekumfi-Otuam where the kinsmen live.
The queen complained about the virtual sidestepping of the family in all the arrangements. She said they did not know how major decisions for the funeral were arrived at, including the dates and venues for both the celebration and the burial.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the family members, led by the queen, last week met the Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia, where they unequivocally stated their reservations.
Mr. Segbefia is said to have agreed to convene a meeting between the family and the funeral committee at the Castle to iron out the rough edges.
The meeting was scheduled for yesterday Tuesday, July 31. This is the very day that the one-week memorial cerebration for the departed president was held.
Nana Ankomah Ogya-Boafo poured out her angst as she described the way the planning was being handled; a taboo, she claimed.
Speaking Fanti, she stated, “He [President Mills] is a royal, his father is a royal, yet the most painful aspect of the funeral arrangement is that he is going to be buried like someone who died through an accident or someone who has committed suicide.”
“This is not right, why is the arrangement being made as though he is a mere goat?” she asked
Dr. Obiri Yeboah, a political scientist, agreed that the hasty arrangement was not proper.
“You see, in our tradition, if you bury prominent people as such, it is said that you have buried [them] like a fowl. You see that because they [planning committee] are in a hurry, they have a conflict? If they had planned very well, they would have done a lot of consultation. You want to bury him; you have not even consulted people in the town. They have not consulted the traditional council of the Gas,” he was quoted to have said on Multi TV on Monday.
Earlier, some members of the late president’s family had threatened to seek an injunction on the funeral. Nana Kwame Taylor, a nephew of President Mills and one of the chiefs at Ekumfi, is said to have confirmed this move to Joy FM.
They alleged that their tradition had been broken with impunity and they would not entertain it.
Since the unceremonious death of incumbent President Atta Mills on July 24, 2012, the country has seen some confusion and the planning committee is not spared its fair share of it.
Initial disagreements occurred on the choice of location for the final resting place of the dead president. A heated tussle has ensued between the government’s planning committee and the extended family of the late president.
However, the utmost consideration that is determining the state of affairs around the once-in-a-lifetime state function is the political climate in the air. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is walking a tight rope trying to balance the burial of the late president and organising itself effectively to contest the December 7 presidential elections.
Meanwhile, the funeral is set for another major setback. The funeral, which will be held in Accra, will coincide with the annual celebration of the Ga traditional area.
The planning committee has settled on the Flagstaff House for interment even though the family wanted it at Otuam.
By Raphael Adeniran &Sarah Afful-Darlington