Secretary of the Funeral Planning Committee of the Anlo Traditional Area, Agbotadua Kumasa says the state will have itself to blame for the repercussions that will follow their failure to allow for the final funeral rites of former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings to be performed by Chiefs from his hometown.
According to them, much as Mr. Rawlings served in many capacities; as a military man, father, and a statesman, he also had traditional responsibilities as an enstooled chief.
Speaking to GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview, Togbi Kumasa explained that the former President, having been enstooled in 2016 as Nutifafa Fia (Peace Chief), underwent some rituals which included taking an oath as a Chief.
This oath, according to him, ought to be withdrawn, only after which someone else can take that oath and be enstooled in his stead, following his demise.
“..If funerals are not observed, it is very difficult to put another person on the stool because the installation rites of a chief involve swearing of an oath and that oath must be taken back when the person passes on and that would have been done for the late president so that someone can be enstooled in his stead.
“Now that that rite was not performed, it will be impossible to enstool another person to succeed him and if that oath is not retrieved, the repercussions will be on the state,” he noted.
According to Agbotadua Kumasa, the local funeral planning committee was expectant that as requested from the state, the mortal remains of Mr. Rawlings would have been brought back to his hometown after the state burial, for the final rites and burial by the chiefs but this was not realized.
Despite this he says, there has been a scheduled meeting between the extended family of Mr. Rawlings and the Anlo Traditional Council, to deliberate on the way forward, as far as holding a burial to complete the said rites are concerned.
“Until the afternoon of 27th, we were optimistic that the body will be released to us, it was until the body was buried that we realized that we will not have the body.
“There should be a ceremony where the oath sworn to him will be taken back by the state, that is why it is very important to discuss the way forward on Saturday, how they will retrieve that oath will be very central at that meeting.
“So the chiefs are meeting, at the Avadada’s palace, to consider the next line of action, I’m very sure it will be discussed at that meeting whether there should be a traditional funeral or we leave things as they are,” he concluded.
Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings passed away on November 12, 2021, after a short illness in Accra. Aside being a family man with 4 children whom he had with his childhood sweetheart, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, he also served as a statesman and served in the military, hence his title, Flight Lieutenant.
In 2016, The Paramount Chief of Anlo Traditional Council Togbui Sri III enstooled Former President John Jerry Rawlings as Togbuiga Nutifafa (Senior Peace chief) of Anlo Traditional area for his leading role in maintaining peace and stability in Ghana.
The former President was enstooled at a mini Hogbetsotso festival durbar held in Tadzewu to herald the grand durbar of the chiefs and people in Anloga.