BY: Akpabli Daniel Yao/Anloga/VR
The people of Anlo have petitioned the Awadada of Anlo, Torgbui Agbesi Awusu II, to demand the body of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings to be brought home for burial and other funeral rites.
The petitioners included the three wings of the Anlo State, the three Asafo groups and the citizens of Anlo who walked to present the petition to the Awadada of the Anlo State.
According to them, their decision is to enable them to fulfill customs and traditions for the remains of the late former president who is also a chief of the Anlo state, in line with the demands of Anlo culture.
In the petition presented by Regent Torgbui Tamakloe, they noted that, the people of Anlo and the entire Ewe people acknowledged the need for the State to honor their celebrated son, but it must not be done contrary to their traditional and customary practices.
They said late Jerry John Rawlings was not only a Former president of the Republic of Ghana but he was a properly enstooled Anlo Chief titled Togbi Nutifafa I at Tadzewu and was installed at Anloga in 2016 so the Government should go ahead to hold all officially planned activities for the burial and other activities except the final burial at the Military cemetery in Accra.
“He was also earlier honoured as Togbi Xornametor I at Alakple. JJ was also a a true member of Anlo cultural institutions where his exit must be properly observed and exited in privacy” They added.
They therefore reiterated that, the President and properly installed Chief of Anlo consciously remained and died an Anlo and must be buried according to Anlo customs, which meant that his body must be conveyed and buried in his ancestral home.
“We are keenly aware of his place in the history of Ghana. We also appreciate the need for the State to honour him and have him buried at the newly created Military Cemetery as needed, but our chieftaincy customary practices and usages also strongly demand that we do not pay our last respect to our departed chiefs and people of JJ’s stature in public. So for convenience, chiefs are always the last persons to send bodies of departed colleagues to the village.” They said.
They also noted that this is not the first time former heads of states are taken to their roots for burial to enable them meet stringent demands of their cultural practices.
“Requests of this nature have been made at various times in the history of Ghana. For example, this request was made for Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia for his burial at Wenchi, his home. Ex-President Edward Akufo-Addo, the father of the reigning President His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his burial at Kyebi; Dr Hilla Limann for his burial at Gwolu, his home; and recently in a faraway South Africa, Ex-President Nelson Mandela was not buried in Pretoria but in his hometown and much more recent was that of ex-President Robert Mugabe, who was also not buried in Harare but at his hometown.”
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Awadada, Torgbui Gbordzor III, Dusifiaga of Anlo assured the petitioners that he would rightly convey their request to him for consideration.
About a week ago, the Agbotui, Tamakloe and Allied families of the Anlo state also issued a statement demanding to take possession of the remains of their departed son, late president Jerry John Rawlings, for the final traditional rites on 29 and 30th January 2021.
The families, in the said press statement signed by the chairman Godson Agbotui, stated that the chiefs and people of the Anlo state led by the Agbotui and allied families have resolved to take possession of the mortal remains of their departed son Togbi Nutifafa I
According to them, the decision to proceed to continue Prez Rawling’s final traditional rites and burial on 29th and 30th January 2021 is in line with the customs and traditions of the Anlo state.