President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his wife, on Tuesday paid their last respect to former President Jerry John Rawlings, whose body is lying in state at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
The President and Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo exchanged pleasantries with the widow of the former president Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, children and the family.
It was followed by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and wife Samira Bawumia. Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the second president of the fourth Republic, also paid his last respect to his predecessor.
The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare also paid her last respect to the former president.
The Speaker of the Eight Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin and the leadership of Parliament as well as members of Parliament followed suit to pay their last respect to the national hero who ruled the nation for 19 years as a military leader and democratically elected president.
Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, a former Speaker of the Sixth Parliament paid his last respect. It was followed by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and justices of the Supreme Court also took their turns to file past the remains of the former president.
Some former ministers also took turns to pay their last respect to the former leader including Mr E.T. Mensah, a former Minister of Youth and Sports under Rawlings regime, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, a former Minister of Works and Housing.
Dr Afriyie Owusu Akoto, Minister- designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Minister-designate for Energy, John-Peter Amewu, Minister- designate for Railways Development also took their turn.
The remains of the former President was laid in state at the AICC on Monday, January 25, 2021 to allow the public to pay their last respect to the man touted as the “People’s Man” due to his charisma that enamoured him to many Ghanaians.
Other dignitaries and recognised groups who were at the AICC to mourn and pay their last respect to the former president included the Clergy, former Ministers who served under Rawlings’ administration, the Diplomatic Community, Alumni of Achimota School and former members of the Council of State.
The remains of the late former President, who rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force was dressed in the Ghana Air Force ceremonial uniform (light blue) with his badges and medals pinned to his breathless chest.
The coffee-brown coffin, which contains the remains of the former President, is placed on a catafalque, surrounded by white flowers, propped on a red carpet with a glass screen to aid public viewing.
As a former Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, his mortal remains were guarded by four catafalque guards, which consist of colonels.
Personnel from the Ghana Prison Service and the Ghana National Fire Service provided the background music for the filing past.
Seated on the right side of the Foyer were Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, his widow and childhood sweetheart, their children, Colonel Joshua Agbotui (retired), the Head of the late former President’s family and other family members.
Hundreds of mourners clad in black and wearing facemasks, given the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, filed past the remains of the former President.
Three cultural troupes, namely; the Nananom Kete Cultural Troupe based in Accra, the Abirem Kete Cultural Troupe and the Eferitete Cultural Troupe, both from Kumasi performed the kete dance in honour of the departed hero.
The building of the AICC had two giant portraits of the late former President on it whilst the national flags within the precincts of the Centre were flying at half mast.
The four-day state funeral started last Sunday, January 24 with a Requiem Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral.
There would be a burial service on Wednesday, January 27 at the Black Star Square where the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) would give the former president a full military honours accorded a Commander-in-Chief of the GAF, with 21 gun salutes.
His mortal remains would be interred at the Military Cemetery, Burma Camp.
The former president was the son of James Ramsay John, a pharmacist from Castle Double, Scotland and Madam Victoria Agbotui from Dzelukope of the Volta Region.
He was born on June 22, 1947 in Accra and trained as an Airforce Officer, and on many accolades.
He came to power on June 4th 1979 after his first coup on May 15, 1979 failed.
He successful staged a coup in 1981 and subsequently ruled for 11 years as a military leader and eight years as a democratically elected president and handed over political power on January 7 in 2001.
Jerry Rawlings thereafter remained a powerful voice in Ghana’s public life and was seen as a Pan-African statesman and a hero to many.
Mr Rawlings was credited with embedding democracy in Ghana and establishing social and political stability.
He is fondly remembered for promoting the principles of probity, accountability, social justice and volunteerism in national service.
He passed away on November 12,2020 after a short illness at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
He was 73 years.
He was survived by his wife, Nana Konandu Agyeman, Rawlings, three daughters-Zenator, Yaa Asantewa, Amina and a son, Kimathi.