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Regional News of Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Source: GNA

Thousands converging at Children’s Park to mourn President Mills

Thousands of people are converging at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park in Accra, where the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council is marking the one week celebration of the death of President John Evans Atta Mills.

People from all walks of life, dressed in mourning attire, are walking or on board vehicles to the Park, which is a sea of red and black.

There is drumming, singing, dancing, tooting of horns and blowing of whistles at the Park, which is gradually filling up.

By 1100 hours hundreds of mourners were already seated waiting for the official commencement of the ceremony.

A large number of them are clad in paraphernalia of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), posters of the late President Mills have been displayed on vehicles and on structures at the Park.

Drivers are displaying red banners on their vehicles and are tooting their horns, as they drive in town and some vehicles with public address systems are playing dirges as they drive around.

Many people are carrying portraits of the late President, food vendors have set up joints around the Park, and photographers are taking pictures of mourners, while vendors are making brisk business, selling pieces of red and black materials, as well as NDC paraphernalia.

Public buildings around the Ministries are draped in black and red colours.

The Government delegation to the celebration was led by Nii Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Accra Mayor and other Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Region.

Other dignitaries were, the National Chief Imam, Dr. Shiekh Nuhu Sharabutu. The celebration began with pouring of libation by Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona, Osu Mantse, and intermittent melodious tunes provided by the Ghana Armed Forces Central Band and the Ghana Police Service Central Band.

An official statement has directed all Ghanaians, institutions and organizations to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the late president at 1415 hours, the exact time that the President passed away on Tuesday, July 24.

All Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies have planned series of activities to mark the day.

The family of the late President has expressed gratitude to all those mourning with them and his widow, Dr. (Mrs.) Ernestina Naadu Mills, saying they would have “a private, solemn observation to mark the seventh day of the home-call of our beloved son and husband.”

A giant billboard with the inscription, “Man of Peace Rest In Peace,” has been erected at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum while at the entrance of the Flagstaff House hangs black and red banner with portraits of President Mills.

Some residents, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said they felt a great sense of loss when they heard the demise of the President and had since then decided to mourn until he is laid to rest on August 10.

One resident said: "The late President was really a great man and it will take a long time for Ghana to get such a humble, responsible, gentle, selfless and wonderful man as President.

"He was a man of peace, and therefore, it is important for every Ghanaian to adhere to the minute’s silence directed by the Government during the one week celebration as a tribute and say a little prayer for him."

President Mills passed away suddenly last Tuesday, July 24 leaving Ghana in a state of shock and mourning.

World leaders, organizations, corporate institutions, chiefs and individuals have been sending messages of condolence to the Government and people of Ghana, with the underlying messages stating that President Mills was a champion of democracy, rule of law and a man of peace.**