The families have proposed 30 January 2021 for the final funeral rites of Jerry John Rawlings, however, it is subject to government’s approval.
The nuclear family of the late former President, Jerry John Rawlings, and other allied families have finally agreed on when to perform the final funeral rites for the late Ghanaian statesman who died on 12 November 2020, after a short illness at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
A source close to the Agbotui family told Asaase News that a series of meetings ended on Wednesday 16 December 2020 with all sides signing a document to confirm the resolution.
The document, the source disclosed, was signed by 22 key persons, including the children of the late former President, Col. Joshua Agbotui, who is head of the family, a representative of Regent Adzika Tamakloe (who was himself on the telephone during the meeting), Mrs Judy Nkansah (nee John), the sibling of the deceased, Jim Tamakloe, Johnny Blagogee and others.
On 4 December 2020, a petition from lawyers, Vordoagu, Dzeble & Co, to the President on behalf of “the Victoria Agbotui, Tamakloe, Agbotui and Allied Families,” all led by Regent Adzika Tamakloe Mafiaga of Anlo, and Michael Soussidis, expressed their unhappiness with the funeral arrangements. This prompted the President to urge the various groups to meet with the nucleus family to settle on a date and communicate the resolution to the Office of the President.
Asaase News information is that the settlement of Wednesday has since been communicated to the Chief of Staff. This paves the way for the smooth and dignified organisation of the final funeral rites of Ghana’s longest served head of state.
The source, who read the signed document: “Resolution of the meeting of the Representatives of the Agbotui and Allied Families”, told Asaase News that the families agreed on a set date in January but subject to the convenience of the state, so long as the funeral takes place in 2021 January.
“The family has agreed to 30 of January 2021 for the burial of the late President” the source said, adding, “but we all agreed to be flexible to an alternative convenient date in January.”
New date subject to government approval
The source said the families agreed that their proposed date of 30 January 2021 will be communicated to the Office of the President and, quoting from the resolution, said, “If the said date is not convenient for the diary of the Government, an alternative date will be agreed to in January 2021.”
“The family agrees to be bound by the date communicated by the Government for the burial of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings,” the resolution further indicated.
Government’s alternative date
It is anticipated that the Presidency will propose an alternative date because the annual African Union Summit in Ethiopia is scheduled to take place from 29 January 2021 to 2 February 2021. This automatically rules out the preferred date of 30 January.
The President intends to invite several of his colleague heads of state, especially from ECOWAS and the AU.
The State burial of the first President of the Fourth Republic was first proposed for 23 December 2020, however, some of the allied families objected to it over claims that they were not consulted for their input.
Subsequently, the office of the late former President, through a press release on 17 December 2020, postponed the funeral date indefinitely to allow for broader consultation.
The Presidency also encouraged the various families to meet to agree on a date and revert. This was seen as necessary to avoid any diplomatic embarrassment.
Though, the late former President’s father was Scottish and the mother was Ewe, with both sides observing a patrilineal lineage, his maternal distant family has been very assertive in making sure that their supreme role is recognised and respected.
Attendees of the resolution meeting
Twenty-two representatives from the various families attended the meeting. Among them were; Colonel Joshua Agbotui (Rtd.) Head of Family, Ambassador Victor Gbeho (chairing), Mr. Bill Ashiagbor, Hon. Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Ms. Yaa Asantewaa Agyeman-Rawlings, Ms. Amina Agyeman-Rawling, Kimathi Agyeman-Rawlings, Mrs. Judy Nkansah, Madam Sylvia Ahoorlu, Dr. Anthony Dzegede, Madam Dodo Amegashie and Dr. Kwesi Djokoto. The rest were Group Captain Richard Forjoe, Mr. John Kofi Agbotui, Mr. Godson Agbotui (also representing George Nkornyuie), Mr. Johnny Blagogee, Mr. Jim Tamakloe, Madam Otovi Yovo, Madam Xoese Dzokoto (nee Amegashie, Mr. Gameli Agbotui, Mr. Cromwell Gokah, and Madam Hanifa Yahaya.