Mills’ funeral ceremony underway (Day 1)

The body of the late President Mills has been taken out of the 37 Military Hospital to his private residence at the Regimanuel Estates.
The family of the late president is expected to perform some customary rituals there after which the body will be conveyed to the Osu Castle.
From there, the body is expected to be taken to the Banquet Hall at the State House for the filing past by dignitaries.
Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that President John Mahama will be the first person to file past the body of the late leader, to be followed by his vice, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
He said the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, MPs, judges, local and international dignitaries are all expected to file past the body between 11am and 1pm.
From 1pm, the general public will also file past the body and pay their last respects. The public does not need any invitation to file past the body, he said.
No speeches or tributes will be read today, the Deputy Minister added.
He said no photographing of the body nor dramatic wailing near the body with the potential to delay the procession will be tolerated.
The body is currently being moved to the Osu Castle.
Joy FM’s Seth Kwame Boateng, who is at the Castle, reported the place is virtually empty and that everybody there is moving to the State House. He said though it is raining, those working on the late president’s grave are busy, trying to finish the work as scheduled.
Acting Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, DSP Cephas Arthur told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong Nkrumah that no permanent road blocks would be mounted today and Thursday. However, he said there would be elaborate roads blocks on Friday.
Body just bypasses the State House and driving towards the Osu Castle.
Sammy Darko reports the procession is extremely beautiful.
Seth Kwame Boateng reports there are signals the body is arriving at the Osu Castle.
On the plate of the vehicle carrying the body of the late president is written, “His Excellency.”
8:49 The body is entering the Castle. A lady is sobbing. Security officials have lowered their flags.
His bodyguard is leading the ambulance carrying the body.
“It’s a very sad moment here”. Castle staff are weeping uncontrollably.
His son just arrived. The chief of Staff and other dignitaries are there to see the body. Bebako Mensah, Secretary to the late president crying.
Totobi Kwakye, Chairman of the funeral planning committee has also arrived. More people trooping in.
8:57 All are gathered around the Hearse. Chief of Staff praying.
They recite the Lord’s prayer.
8:59 Prayers over.
9:00 They are singing hymn (Till we meet again) amidst sobs.
9:01 They are mounting the guard of honour.
9:03 Son of president Mills just touched the casket, crying.
9:04 Hearse is leaving the Castle to the State House for the filing past to begin. Castle Security escort hearse to pay their last respects.
Religious leaders will receive the cortege when it arrives at the State House. It will be sent to the main chamber for final traditional rites before it will be brought to the Banquet Hall for the dignitaries to file past it.
9:17 IGP just arrived as well as lots of other senior security chiefs.
9:19 Cortege arriving at the State House. Nobody will be allowed to touch the hearse as it arrives.
9:21 Police have stopped people from moving. A very old lady who fell to the ground in tears has been carried out of the venue.
9:24 Cortege has just arrived at the State House.
9:25 Cortege is moving slowly as crowd eagerly await. Hearse pulling up in front of the State House.
9:29 Communications Director at the Presidency, Koku Anyidoho, and other loyalists of the late president are walking by the hearse.

9:35 Hearse just arrived at the main door to the Banquet Hall at the State House. Security officers open door of the hearse to take out the body. Religious leaders ready to take body from security officers. Minister weeping as fontonfrom displays.
9:38 Casket has been removed from the hearse whilst traditional leaders perform rituals. Traditional leaders from his family leading the procession.
9:40 Door to Banquet Hall has been opened and the casket draped in a huge Ghana flag is being carried inside. Casket appears too heavy for military officers who struggled to carry it.
9:48 Sammy Darko reports there is weeping all over the State House. Ministers of state are shedding tears, to crown the sadness morning in the nation.
9:52 Religious leaders praying with hands on the casket. Prayers over. Security personnel placing the casket properly for filing past.
Rev Sam Korankye Ankrah: The clergy committed the body in the hands of God before the filing past.
It has suddenly dawned on us that this is real. The man is gone. Ministers are crying; everybody is crying.
Rev. Fred Degbe: It really is a sad day. Condolences to all Ghanaians. When we look beyond politics, we see a man with great qualities. He left us unprepared. He didn’t belong in politics but he showed us that we can be gentle even as politicians.**

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