The renowned Asomdwehene (King of Peace), the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, has left this troubled world for a decade now, but the brouhaha surrounding his demise still lingers on. There is a new episode to the confusion each anniversary year, and 2022 is no exception, as the Atta-Mills family and the Atta-Mills Institute have locked horns.
The two are at each other’s throats over the grave that contains the remains of the Asomdwehene, situated at the Asomdwe Park at the Osu Castle, Accra. The family cannot come to terms with what they describe as sheer impudence, if not audacity, on the part of the Chief Executive of the Atta-Mills Institute, Samuel Koku Anyidoho, to touch the tomb of their son without their consent.
On Tuesday, July 19, this year, a brother of the late President, Sam Atta-Mills, accused Koku Anyidoho and the Coastal Development Authority (CODA) of tampering with the tomb. According to him, the family did not recognise the Atta-Mills Institute, let alone leading the “desecration” of the tomb with the Coastal Development Authority.
“They have removed the tomb, and they claim that they are rebuilding it. My question is that we have a family tradition. Now that they have touched someone’s grave, is the body still in there? Who has the body? Why will you touch the body without informing the family head? Under whose authority?
“Why do you want us to always go through grief every time? And you allow that Koku Anyidoho; that buffoon working with Atta Mills Institute, so-called, to go and touch this grave without informing our family head. This is a former President. Why will the government allow this to happen? This is an insult to the family. This is an insult to the Akans. This is an insult to the nation…,” he added.
RENOVATION NOT AN ISSUE
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem said in a radio interview yesterday, monitored by this paper, that the family had no contention with the renovation of the Asomdwe Park. He acknowledged that the location was for the state and, as such, developments could take place at any time. However, to touch the tomb of their son, the family ought to have been informed “for the necessary rituals to be performed.”
IS IT A CRIME?
However, the former Press Secretary to the late President Atta-Mills, Koku Anyidoho, in a series of tweets, asked if it was a crime to replace the tomb with granite stones. He indicated that he had not stolen the body of President Atta-Mills, and stressed that the curses from Sam Mills would go back to the sender.
He asked: “Is it a crime to remove the dirty black cardboard that used to shamefully cover the grave of President Atta-Mills and replace it with granite stones? Is Sammy Atta-Mills talking about curses? The curses shall be upon his ugly head. John Dramani Mahama should bow his head in shame for not building Asomdwee Park.”
He added: “I will not use Asomdwee Park for partisan politics. It is a big shame that Sammy Atta-Mills has neglected the burial place of his brother and is using the work the state is doing for dirty politics—in support of John Dramani Mahama.
“I am happy that President Akufo-Addo has built Asomdwee Park. John Mahama deliberately refused to build it. Sammy Atta-Mills has never celebrated his brother; he wants me to tell the story of his wickedness towards his brother? I am happy that Sammy Atta-Mills has opened the can of worms that I have been trying very hard not to open.
“Sammy Atta-Mills says I am a buffoon. I see! Let him produce the autopsy report of the late President Atta-Mills. Sammy Atta-Mills should tell us what killed his brother. He says his brother died in his hands: he should tell us how his brother died.”
PARK OWNED BY THE STATE
Meanwhile, speaking on Asempa FM yesterday afternoon minutes after Sam Atta-Mills, the former Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Anyidoho, said the Asomdwe Park belonged to the state and not him. ‘The Bull’, as he sometimes called, claimed that the state buried his boss, so if the former decided to spruce up the place, nothing could stop them.
Meanwhile, the Coastal Development Authority (CODA), the institution that funded the renovation of Asomdwe Park, in a statement yesterday, said they acted upon a directive from President Akufo-Addo.
According to the release, the Authority consulted the relevant state institutions in charge of state monuments before beginning the renovation work.
CODA stated for the avoidance of doubt that the scope of work included re-designing and constructing an ICT Lab, a Library, a Cafeteria, a concrete shed, and the replacement of alucobond panels over the tomb of the late President.
“We wish to state that the grave was not opened and, therefore, no desecration of the body of the former President, H.E. John Evans Atta Mills, has taken place,” they cleared the air.
Asomdwee Park is the burial place of Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who died while in office some 10 years ago. This Sunday, July 24, the rehabilitated park would be reopened by the state, in collaboration with the Atta Mills Institute, as well as other activities to mark the 10th Anniversary of his passing.