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General News of Thursday, 9 August 2012

Source: GNA

President Mills draws closer to his final resting place

President Mills’ final journey enters the second day today Thursday, August 9, 2012.

The body of the late President will be conveyed from the State Banquet Hall to the Independence Square for public view.

The event will later be marked by a grand ceremony at the same venue before his burial tomorrow, Friday the 10th of August.

Except for some finishing touches, which essentially are for decorative purposes, President Mills’ final resting place, an 8-foot-deep tiled grave off the Marine Drive leading to the Osu Castle, the seat of government, is ready to house the mortal remains of the man whose life and work has come to symbolize national peace and unity.

The tomb located at the Geese Park, until recently a recreation park, is being constructed by the National Security Secretariat-Castle Annex, with the assistance of a Chinese construction company operating in Ghana.

A visit to the area shows brisk activity going on as tipper trucks, excavators and other earth-moving machinery were busy at work under very tight security protection.

Working busily at the site are masons, carpenters and electricians, among others, who have taken over the Marine Drive.

The artisans, who are fed daily at the venue since work started, have been provided with a 24-hour floodlight to work day and night to meet Friday’s deadline for Mills’ burial.

They have so far fitted the inside of the tomb with brown porcelain tiles to match the status of the late President, whose burial would be graced by foreign dignitaries and his colleague Presidents all over the continent of African and beyond.

A good number of white and black geese can be seen moving about pleasantly at the site which is being shaped up to become President John Mahama’s answer to the quest for a Presidential Cemetery for Ghana.

President Mills’ journey to eternity actually began with his demise at the 37 Military Hospital shortly, after admission there on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

Its final moments began to tick yesterday, Wednesday, when it was conveyed from the 37 Military Hospital mortuary at about 0650 hours in a hearse bedecked with flowers with the coat of arms at the front, to his private residence at Regimannuel Estates on Spintex Road for members of the immediate family to perform some rituals.

From there the cortege moved to the Castle, Osu, where he worked as President from January 7, 2009 to his sudden death on July 24.

The procession then proceeded to State Banquet Hall in Accra, where President John Dramani Mahama, Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills and family, two of Ghana’s immediate past Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, as well as members of the Council of State, was among the first to pay their last respects to the departed leader.

Several hundreds of mourners and sympathizers thronged the Banquet Hall throughout yesterday taking turns to file pass the glass enclosed, flower-strewn open casket that bore the body of the late President.**