Nation bids Rawlings farewell …as remains laid to rest

The remains of the late Former President Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings (Rtd) was yesterday interred at the new Military Cemetery in Accra, after a burial service, marked by tears, tributes and solemn music, was held at the Black Star Square.

In accordance with military practice, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), affectionately called ‘Papa J,’ received a 21- gun salute, afterwards; the casket was lowered into the grave.

Some symbolic military accoutrement including Air Force uniform, swords, cap and medals were handed over to the bereaved children of the former President, an episode which almost brought tears to the grieving children.

Prior to that, a military  gun carriage, conveying the remnant of the country’s  longest serving head of state, was paraded through some principal streets of Accra accompanied by pall bearers, motorcade and military band on the ground and a Ghana flag hoisting helicopter in the sky.

Residents, commuters and traders stood along the Castle road, Ridge roundabout, Ako Adjei roundabout, 37 Military Hospital road, Burma Camp and the Air Force Base, to catch a glimpse of the procession of the First President of the Fourth Republic.

The solemn service brought together a sea of Ghanaians clad in traditional red-and-black mourning clothes including government officials, politicians, military, family, friends and associates, who were joined by some world leaders and representatives of global organisations.

The dignitaries included President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and their spouses; former Presidents; John Agyekum Kufuor and President John Mahama; Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin; Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare.

Also at the ceremony were the rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party which was formed by the late Former President, representatives of the other political parties, religious and traditional leaders, as well as representatives of the Africa Union and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).

It is significant to note that, the Black Star Square which hosted the service of the late Statesman was the same place where he was sworn into office as the first President of the Fourth Republic in January 1993, and received national salute at several independence parades held there.

Twenty-eight years down his life, he was the centre of attention at the same venue but he was lying lifeless in a casket draped in Ghana flag, incapable of reacting to all that was going on around him.

The ceremony, held under strict adherence to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols and officiated by Naval Captain Paul Adjei-Djan, the Director, Religious Affairs of GAF, had the sermon delivered by the Bishop of the Accra Diocese of the Methodist Church, Right Reverend Samuel Kofi Osabutey with music provided by the National Symphony Orchestra, military band, choirs and individual artistes.

Nine wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen hero by President Akufo-Addo; the widow, Mrs Agyeman Rawlings; the children; GAF; ECOWAS; AU; Anlo State; the extended family and the NDC.


Show More
Back to top button