General News of Saturday, 22 July 2017
Mr Samuel Atta-Mills, Member of Parliament for Komenda/Edina/Abrem, on Friday extended a posthumous “birthday wish” to President John Evans Atta, who would have turned 73 on July 21 were he to be alive.
The late President Mills, who was President of Ghana from January 9, 2009, to July 24, 2012, died three days after his 68th birthday and was buried at the Asomdwoe Park, off the Castle Drive at Osu, Accra.
The MP, sounding emotional, said: “Mr Speaker, I will like to know the national policy on the final resting place(s) for ex-presidents.
“Apart from Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, many Ghanaians do not know where our ex-presidents’ tomb can be found.”
In a statement on the floor of Parliament Mr Atta-Mills, a biological brother of the late President, said the park had, since last January, been closed to the public for repair works and called on the nation to complete or rehabilitate it to an appreciable and befitting status as a Presidential Mausoleum.
Mr Atta-Mills reminded the nation not to forget that she has as many as three ex-presidents as well as a sitting one in the Fourth Republic, adding; “We should not wait and sing dirges in later years to come.”
He asked: “Is it true that there is a saying that a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for? I pause for an answer.”
“With Christ in the vessel I smile at the storm…. Happy Birthday, Brother,” he said.
The Asomdwee Park, located between the Christiansburg Castle and the Black Star Square, is the first Presidential Mausoleum with President John Evans Atta Mills being the first to be buried there. It has an additional eight graves for the burial of other presidents.
Mr Atta-Mills noted that despite the burial of the late President being beautifully carried out in the not yet completed place, the planned completion, to date, had not been carried out.
“The park is expected to have a replica office of the late President Atta-Mills, memorabilia and a gift shop. It is also to be landscaped with well-manicured lawns, shady trees as well as variety of birds and garden chairs,” Mr Atta-Mills said.
“It is obvious from my visits to the place, including last week, that work has stalled and there is no indication that these repairs will commence anytime soon because it has been the nature of Ghanaians to abandon such projects,” he said.
Mr Atta Mills said his visit to the Asomdwee Park revealed that; “The well-crafted metallic cover of the tomb had developed grim cracks detaching itself from the rest of the artefact; portions of the tomb are also falling apart, and have been supported with blocks.
He said pressed for answers on which state institution manages the resting places for former presidents; who is in charge of the Asomdwee Park; who takes care of the landscaping as weeds have overgrown and filth engulfed the entire place; and what happened to some of the animals at the recreational centre.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister of Works and Housing, and MP for Abuakwa South, said from a traditional background the mortal remains of presidents belonged to their families but were loaned to the nation through elections.
He noted that wherever they were buried there should be some decency at the sites to show respect and gain economic benefits.
Mr Ras Mubarak, MP for Kumbungu, eulogised the late President Mills as humble and incorruptible, who also made great efforts to unite the nation adding that there was the need to maintain the Osu Christiansborg Castle.
Mr James Klutse Avedzi, the Deputy Minority Leader, said it was necessary to look at the situation of living presidents even before their death.
Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, suggested that the Osu Castle be considered a national mausoleum for former presidents.
He called for a re-look at the Greenstreet and Chinery Hesse reports that made recommendations for packages for former presidents.