The body of President Atta Mills being moved to Independence Square in Accra by Military personnel
August 10 2012
Thousands of Ghanaians thronged the Independence Square in Accra Friday pay their last respects to the late President John Atta Mills in an emotional ceremony.
Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who represented President Kibaki, joined other 18 Heads of State and Government including Presidents Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria), Jacob Zuma (South Africa) and Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the funeral.
Mr Musyoka said the continent had lost a focused leader who had started rekindling the desire of renewed Pan-Africanism.
Ghana under its founding President Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Sekou Toure of Guinea among others, Mr Musyoka noted, were the cradle of the continental movement.
Waving miniature Ghanaian flags, the emotional crowd sang and danced to drills performed by members of the country’s armed forces.
Ghana was laying to rest a sitting president for the first since independence.
“Today is sad day for Ghana. We are burying the father figure of our country, a man of peace and development. May his soul rest in eternal peace," declared Mensa Crentsil from the Central Region of Ghana, wiping tears from his eyes.
At exactly 10.30am local time, the body of Prof John Evans Atta Mills entered the square on a horse-drawn carriage, his casket draped in the national flag of green, gold and red.
Everyone rose to their feet as military pall-bearers carried the casket walking on red carpet between a guard of honour mounted by soldiers on horseback.
The funeral was service conducted by the Head of the Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and Methodist Churches of Ghana.
Mr Musyoka said the best way for African leaders to honour departed president was by providing a steadfast people-centred leadership focused on transforming the lives of the continent’s citizens.
Prof. Atta Mills died on July 24 following an illness.
President John Dramana Mahama hailed his predecessor as a man of God, father of the nation and a true son of Africa.
Mr Musyoka, who is accompanied by Trade minister Moses Wetangula, Foreign affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka, and Imenti North MP Silas Muriuki also met Kenyans working and living in Ghana.
He praised them for their remittances back home, which has grown the national economy and promised that a High Commission will be opened in Accra soon.
The group's secretary general Frank Odhiambo told the VP that Kenyans abroad wanted to be assured that would vote during the next General Election.