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Feature Article of Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Columnist: Akuffo, Benjamin

Mills’ Funeral: The Ugliest And Funniest Parts

From Ghana Palaver newspaper

By Benjamin Akuffo

Some Journalists and mourners from Ghana and across the African continent and beyond over the weekend broke down and laughed uproariously when an action by a military officer perhaps momentarily took away the gloom and general feeling of sadness that had characterized the late President John Evans Atta Mills’ funeral obsequies at the Independence Square in Accra.

The action by the military officer undoubtedly may appear to the men in uniform to be the routine and maybe an occupational hazard based on one’s job description but to the journalists on platform taking footage of the funeral procession who saw a well-built military officer in his blue black kaki and light blue uniform salute a horse dropping is laughable if not unbelievable. The officer who was having a black bowl under his armpit was apparently instructed to go clear the horse dung from the well-swept funeral grounds after some of the horses which led the army cortege carrying the remains of the late president had defecated immediately the casket was brought to the square.

So in a bid to keep the grounds clean for marching activities and send-off exercises, the officer who apparently was following instructions marched towards the spots with the horses’ droppings, saluted and wiped off the ‘thing’ and then got up and saluted again before proceeding to ‘wipe with salute’, three different horse dungs which had littered the grounds.

The local and foreign journalists including some mourners who spotted the act burst out into uncontrollable laughter especially because of the seriousness and damn right care with which he collected the dung and placed its content in the bowl under his armpit and marched off the grounds. Just when everybody thought that the incident had provided enough cause for laughter came an ugly incident at the platform on which the press men where, as owing to a misunderstanding over bottled water and drink that was being shared, some local journalists nearly exchanged fisticuffs, to the surprise and chagrin of the foreign journalists present.

But generally, everything went on smoothly as planned without any hitch by way of security and how the planned programmes were followed through to the end.

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