Torgbui Agbesi Awusi II, the Awadada of Anlo State, has expressed disappointment in the immediate family of former President, Jerry John Rawlings for announcing a burial date while consultation was still ongoing.
His comment followed a recent press statement purportedly to be coming from the Office of the former President announcing December 23, this year, as the burial date of the statesman compelling reactionary statements from the Anlo chiefs and the family.
Torgbui Agbesi Awusi who spoke to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a meeting of the Anlo Traditional Council and Mr Rawlings’ family, said right from the day Torgbui Nutifafafiaga I, passed on, his immediate family had been committing one blunder to the other.
“Mr Rawlings was not just our former President. He was a son of the soil and properly installed chief of Anlo. We didn’t hear of his illness but only his death and that too without the proper channel.
The President of the Republic made a public announcement a few hours after his demise and on the same day, our children went to officially announce his passing to the President contrary to our customs.
“They later came to officially inform us of the loss and apologised for their blunder. We took it in good faith but the next day, they committed yet another by visiting the Asantehene Otumfour Osei Tutu II for the official announcement without any delegation from the Anlo Traditional Council.”
The Awadada said the announcement of December 23 as the burial date was not just a show of disrespect for Anlo values, but disregard for the unity and peace of the Ghanaian people, which the late Mr Rawlings upheld.
“First, we’re going to the polls on December 07 and in case we don’t get a winner, we may go for a run-off around 21st-23rd December. Christmas will be just two days away. More so, Rawlings was a former President and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“Should the NDC lose the election and be bitter, how will they feel burying their founder? And should the New Patriotic Party lose, how will an outgoing government feel performing the state burial? These two scenarios do not augur well for the prevailing peace and unity in the country.”
The family, the Agbotui and allied families led by the Chairman, Mr Godson Agbotui during the meeting with the Council disassociated themselves from the contents of the statement announcing the burial date, disclosing that they were not duly consulted to have reached an agreement on arrangements for the final funeral rites of their departed kinsman.
The family, pledging their readiness to work in consultation with the custodians of the land, said they could not possibly be part of this “shameful display of immaturity, disregard for our traditions and core values, and total disrespect for the integrity of our son, who was an installed chief of Anlo.”
The meeting ended with the constitution of a 20-member steering committee made up of members of the Council and the Rawlings’ family with Awadada as the Chairman to make inputs towards a befitting burial for Mr Rawlings and in the interest of all Ghanaians.