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Announcement Of John Atta Mills


1944 - 2012

From 8–10 August, his body lay in state, and Ghanaian government officials, civil society, traditional leaders, the clergy, the general public and dignitaries such as Côte d'Ivoire's Alassane Ouattara, Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan and Senegal's Macky Sall paid their last respects. Within this period, a two-night vigil was also held at the forecourt of the State House for cultural and musical performances such as traditional dirges, plays and tribute reading. Thousands streamed into the State House to pay their last respects to Mills as he lay in state with some mourners queuing for hours, many of them wailing with grief, in lines up to 10 km (6 miles) long per press reports. The body was then taken by a military cortege from the State House parliamentary complex to the Independence Square for the funerary services which was attended by 18 African Heads of State, 5 Vice-Presidents, United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Secretary-General of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Mohamed Ibn Chambas and several other international envoys. In all, there were 67 foreign delegations represented at the funeral. In addition to the over 50,000 people who gathered for the ceremony, his funeral was also attended by Benin's Thomas Boni Yayi, who said of Mills that he was "passionate about peace in Africa and in the region," as well as Togo's Faure Gnassingbe, who said " Mills was like a brother to me. I will surely miss him."

Ahead of religious ceremonies on Friday morning, the officially declared national day of mourning, a helicopter hovered over the area dropping leaflets reading: We want peaceful elections in 2012. The funeral ended with the release of a hundred white doves into the air to signify the peaceful nature of the departed leader.

After the funeral service, the president's body was taken on a military procession through some principal streets of the Ghanaian capital, Accra and then for burial in a newly created presidential mausoleum located in the northern part (Asomdwee Park) of a bird sanctuary, Geese Park renamed along the Marine Drive and next to the old seat of government, the 17th-century Fort Christiansborg, (also known as Osu Castle), which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Guinea. As the sitting Commander-in-Chief, Mills was accorded full military honours, steeped in distinct and elaborate traditions, including a slow march by the Ghana Army, a flypast of Ghana Air Force jets ejecting plumes of smoke in the national colours of red, gold and green, with the Ghana Navy ships also performing ceremonial manoeuvres on the shoreline behind the Independence Square and a 21-gun salute accompanying the playing of the bugle call, Sunset and the Christian hymn, Abide with Me (Eventide) synchronized with the sounding of the Last Post by military buglers after the casket had been lowered into the grave. Approximately 700 domestic and foreign media outlets received accreditation from the Ghanaian Ministry of Information to cover the event. An estimated 20–25 million television and online or web audience watched the three-day funeral ceremonies. The state funeral for the late president was most likely the largest gathering of people in one place at a single public event in recent or modern Ghanaian history.