Contrary to the threat issued by chiefs from the Anlo State that they would have nothing to do with Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings’ funeral, they fully participated in the burial ceremony of their son, which was held in Accra yesterday, and even laid a wreath in his memory.
The Chronicle reported on Tuesday, this week, that the Anlo State was going to boycott Mr Rawlings funeral because they had not been officially invited. But, in a sharp U-turn, the chiefs sent a delegation to the funeral which laid a wreath on their behalf.
At the colourful but solemn final funeral ceremony organised by the Ghana Armed Forces, nine wreaths were to be laid, but because of the earlier threat, nobody expected the Anlo State to be part of the wreath-laying ceremony.
It, therefore, came as a surprise when the Moderator for the programme called the representative of the Anlo State to lay the fifth wreath. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, laid the first wreath on behalf of the government and people of Ghana.
The second wreath was laid by the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, widow of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings.
The third wreath was laid by the four children, led by the Member of Parliament for Klottey Korley Constituency, Dr. Zanetor Agyemang-Rawlings.
Col Joshua Agbotui (Rtd) laid the fourth wreath on behalf of the family, and the fifth wreath, on behalf of the Anlo State, Torgbui Wenya did to Rawlings the honour of laying a wreath for him.
“The fifth wreath; this will be laid on behalf of the Anlo State. I wish to respectfully invite Torgbui Wenya, Regent and Ditor of Anlo to lay the wreath,” the Moderator announced, and Torgbui Wenya stepped forward to lay the wreath for the Anlo State.
The sixth wreath was laid by Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, on behalf of the Commission.
The seventh wreath was laid by Alhaji Huduu Yahya on behalf of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which also read a tribute at the ceremony.
Ambassador Abdulai Diok, Chief of Staff at the African Union’s (AU) Chairperson’s Bureau, laid the eighth wreath on behalf of the AU.
The final wreath was laid by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt Gen. Obed Boamah Akwa, on behalf of the Ghana Armed Forces.
The President, the widow, the children, the family, his party (NDC), and the Ghana Armed Forces took turns to read their tributes to the late Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.
In his tribute to his friend, Mr Rawlings, President Akufo-Addo stressed that it was no secret that they was friction between them until the last eight years of Rawlings’ life, when they turned to be best of friends.
According to the President, with time things changed and they realised the value of each other and understood each other.
Acknowledging Mr Rawlings’ contribution to the development of the country, President Akufo-Addo wished that his friend remained, forever “the longest serving Head of State in our nation’s history, for that would mean that the 4th Republican Constitution and its enshrined term limits have endured.”
“I believe that history, on balance, will be kind to him, and will render a positive verdict on his contribution to the evolution of our nation, and the entrenchment of its democratic institutions and culture. It is entirely appropriate and fitting that he should receive a state funeral with full honours to express the gratitude of the nation for that contribution,” Akufo-Addo stated.
In a tribute read on her behalf by her daughter, Princess Amina Rawlings, the widow, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, indicated that her husband and she started on a journey that was free and easy in spirit.
According to her, she was innocent when she met Mr Rawlings, but her husband was streetwise, and there was a lot she had to learn about real life, considering the fact that she had overprotective parents.
“After several trials, I decided that a leopard never changed its spots. I was who I was, based on family values. I decided I could not change for love sake. You finally understood to take me as I am; I was who I was, and there was nothing I could do about it.
“We believed each other and in our dream of making Ghana a country we could all be proud of, one to set the pace for our sub-region and the continent. I daresay we did not do a bad job!” she added.
The late Former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings was buried later yesterday, after his mortal remains was taken on a full military procession through some principal streets of the capital, Accra.