Accra, Aug. 9, GNA – Thousands of Ghanaians continue to converge at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra to view the body of the late President John Evans Atta Mills, at the start of a three-day State funeral.
The viewing has been orderly, as security operatives make mourners undergo checks, with serpentine queue several metres long.
The State House has become a beehive of activities as several groups of musical and cultural performances galvanised the teeming crowds with dirges, choral, poems and other performances in anticipation of the vigil that starts from 1900 hours.
There is heavy security presence in the State House area that has become a sea of black and red colours in symbolic mourning of the 68-year-old Ghanaian leader, who passed away three days after celebrating his 68th birthday on July 24, at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, while receiving medical treatment.
Several high profile Ghanaians including the successor of the late President Mills, President John Dramani Mahama, and his Vice Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, and immediate past First Lady Naadu Mills and son of the late President, Mr Kofi Sam Atta Mills and the leadership of political parties of the NDC, the NPP and the CPP, as well as former Presidents John Agyekum Kufour and Jerry John Rawlings and wife Nana Konadu, and the their flag-bearers paid their last respects.
Most of the mourners who viewed the body came out with tears and wailing.
“Ao, Atta, is that what you told told us?” a mourner asked.
“How can you leave us like that? Is that you lying there?” another mourner asked.
Mr Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, after viewing the body, reflected soberly on the death of the late President Mills and added that it was a reminder of how frail man was.
The Otuam Asafo Group, a traditional war company from the late President Mills’ hometown, fired musketry.
Nana Komfo Abaka, the Spiritual Leader of the group bemoaned the death of the late President Mills, and expressed worry that he was yet to fulfil promises made to his town’s folk and appealed to President Mahama to take up from where the late President Mills left off.
It is expected that the public viewing would end on Wednesday at 1900 hours for the commencement of the vigil, but the queue was unending.
Also displayed in the Banquet hall was a large portrait of the late president with the inscription “Peace I leave for my nation.”