MPs call for national policy on resting places for presidents

Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, July 22, GNA –
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 where 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.


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