From Ernest Best Anane
The Asanteman Council has officially announced arrangements for the funeral rites of the late Asante Queenmother, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.
Otumfuo’s Akyeamehene, Nana Nsuase Opoku Agyeman III, revealed at a press conference in Kumasi that the late Asantehemaa would be laid in state from Monday, January 16 to Thursday, January 19, 2017.
According to the Akyeamhene, the funeral is the ‘Doteyie’ and not the final funeral rites for the late Queenmother – the 13th Queenmother of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Monday January 16
He said on the first day of mourning, nananom from Asanteman will pay their last respects to the Queenmother from morning till 11:00 a.m., at which time Otumfuo Osei Tutu II the Asantehene will also file past his late mother and subsequently sit in state to receive sympathisers.
Members of the public can also pay their last respects to the Queenmother after Otumfuo.
Second and third days
Nana Nsuase Opoku Agyeman further said chiefs and traditional rulers from outside the Asante Kingdom would be expected to file past the late Queenmother and pay their last respects on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, former Ghanaian presidents, ministers, government officials, as well as top-notch businessmen and women will also show their last respects on the second and third days.
He said, dignitaries from Swaziland, Seychelles, Là Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other countries are also expected to file past the Queenmother on Wednesday.
The Akyeamhene indicated that His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will not sit to receive sympathizsers on Thursday. He, however, said the Ashanti King will make himself available over an hour for some dignitaries from abroad who could not get the chance the previous day to greet him.
It has been directed that no shop in Kumasi should be opened on Thursday January 19, 2017 to avoid looting.
He said the late Queenmother will, at 11 a.m., on Thursday morning be taken to the St. Cyprians Anglican Church for a Burial Mass Service, and that only accredited people will be allowed into the church auditorium, while members of the public will be hosted at the Jubilee Park, where a giant screen will be mounted to show what will transpire in the church.
The body will then be marched through Adum to Bantama, where wreaths will be laid. The Queenmother will be taken to Breman, were she will be put to rest.
No outing on night of January 19
The Akyeamhene said as part of the arrangements for the burial of the Queenmother, no one is to be seen on the streets, from Bantama to Breman, from 6:00pm of Thursday, January 19 to 3:00am of Friday January 20.
The Asanteman Council spokesman said the Manhyia Palace will not be held accountable for the lives of people and domestic animals that are seen outside at the said time.
The Akyeamhene said the Planning Committee expects a massive crowd of mourners, for which reason the military and the police have been deployed to help in crowd management, and to ensure law and order over the four-day period of funeral.
All mourners should be in the official mourning cloth, ‘Kuntunkuni’, or black, except dignitaries from other countries who are not permitted to do so by culture.
The death of Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, Queenmother of the Ashanti Kingdom, was reported during the late hours of 15th November 2016.
She passed away at 111 years, and was the biological mother of the current occupant of the Golden Stool.