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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Flagstaff House (Jubilee House) Turns into a mini Cemetery

With the passing of President Mills on Tuesday, 24th July 2012, the John Dramani-Mahama-led NDC government has made many hysteric decisions. The National Executive Council (NEC) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) could not wait for the completion of the first week ritual observance of President Mills' death. They called a secret meeting to deliberate on who should represent the NDC party as a flagbearer for the impending December 7, 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The NDC have come out to announce to the Ghanaian public they have not only nominated but also selected President John Dramani-Mahama to represent the NDC as their sole flagbearer for elections 2012. He is only awaiting confirmation at an NDC party Congress scheduled for September 1, 2012.

Further to their hasty irrational decision that, defies common sense as stated above, they have decided without any cross-party meeting and agreement, to turn the Flagstaff House (former Jubilee House) into a mini cemetery. In their rush to please themselves, score cheap political points by seeking sympathy votes probably have caused another blunder.

Ghanaians will recall that the then candidate Professor Atta Mills with NDC prior to and during election campaign 2008, vowed never to live in the then Jubilee House. They promised to convert the entire newly built Presidential edifice (Jubilee House) into hencoops.

They accused the Kufuor-led NPP government of pure callousness by constructing the Presidential Palace named Jubilee House at a time that most Ghanaians were suffering high cost of living and other financial constraints. To prove to Ghanaians that they are remnant socialists from the defunct Communist Soviet Union with disinterest in anything luxurious, they would not live in the opulent Presidential Palace. Truly, President Mills upon all persuasions refused to live there. Many suggested the Castle could become an attraction tourist centre to fetch money for Ghana if President Mills moved out to the Jubilee House, now the Flagstaff House. He insisted on staying put at the Castle.

Why should Ghanaians bury the remains of President Mills at a place he felt was a taboo to stay when he was alive? Are the decision makers not doing something contrary to his wishes? Or, is it because he is now in a state where he cannot talk, express his views, register his opposition or decide for himself hence, forcing our selfish-intent decisions on him? He was not the only one to have strongly opposed the construction of the Flagstaff House with the subsequent refusal to move over the seat of government. Almost the entire crop of NDC was involved. Why should these same persons now see it befitting to bury the late President Mills there, very much against his will?

The fact it is obligatory and very befitting to accord him a State burial does not necessarily demand we bury him at the Flagstaff House. I regret to see his family, siblings; relatives and friends deny him the needed support both in life and in death. When he really needed close ones to show him affection, encourage him to step down, there was no one but retired Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah who rather was always pushing him in. Much as he desired to come out of the sizzling flying pan, Mr Nunoo-Mensah was goading him to stay in even though the oil was getting hotter by the second. In death, his relatives are succumbing to the caprices of the NDC without standing tall to defend the dead.

If the late President Mills rescinded his decision of not living at the Flagstaff House, then I have no qualms about his burial there even though the place is not a cemetery. Will Ghanaians allow the burial of both past and sitting Presidents there on their passing if and only if, their families/relatives agree to any such decision taken?

I pray the late President Mills' soul rest in perfect peace wherever we inter his remains; leave it to decompose in peace.

Rockson Adofo