JP Lawson writes: Of Kofi Annan’s burial place and making our nation great and strong

Kofi Annan

The Osu Military Cemetery got full, and so, for want of more space to bury dead men who are members of the Ghana military or have something to do with the Ghana Army, a new military cemetery was built.

All that is good.

But what has happened ever since the new military cemetery was built? Let me tell you the little I know:

Colonel C. K. Tevie, a Ghanaian military veteran of World War II, was one of the first men to be buried there. He clearly has something to do with the Army and therefore, no question remains.

But the bodies that have followed in that new military cemetery are of men who have played active roles in the politics of this country; are civilians; had full state burials and are widely known and referred to as statesmen.

I talk of the late Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and the late J.H. Mensah, a former Minister and Member of Parliament: touted as a brilliant economic analyst.

Perhaps, there were no ‘suitable’ or dignified burial places for them and hence the need for them to be sent to the new, ‘tear-rubber’ military cemetery.

At least, what is owned and controlled by the Army has order and is easily spick and span. The Osu Military Cemetery is ample testament to that. It’s the neatest cemetery I’ve ever seen in Ghana.

Apparently, this seems to be the enticing motive behind its selection as the final resting place of our distinguished countrymen who recently heeded to the call of eternal rest.

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But let’s be a bit sincere with the actual intention behind the putting up of the cemetery. The new military cemetery wasn’t put up for civilians or national heroes.

We cannot and should not go on setting a bad precedent. It will easily become the norm and the worst is… we will again be proving that our efforts at governing this country are uninspiring and holding no promise for the future!

My greatest worry now is with where the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Busumuru Kofi Annan will be buried, now that we are assured he will be buried in Ghana.

He is not a military man and will never be. His status is undeniably great. He belongs to the kind whose greatness follow them many years even after their transition from the world of man.

Honestly, he deserves much more. No one in recent history has made this country more dignified and stately in the comity of nations than Kofi Annan. He belongs to the greatest who have ever walked the earth and must not be buried in the military cemetery. Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and J.H. Mensah did not deserve that either.

Why can we not renovate and put the Asomdwe Park in a very good state if we cannot find another space like the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park to honour the memory of Kofi Annan?

The Asomdwe Park could be easily turned into a site where national heroes are buried; something in the mould of the Westminster Abbey in Britain-where the remains of monarchs and many men of renown have been interred.

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Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a place reserved for greats like Francis Allotey, Professor Mills, Kofi Annan, J.H. Mensah, Philip Gbeho, Ephraim Amu and the many, many heroes that have influenced this country for good?

Let us be thinking about building a great nation! Let us have the mindset of those that made civilizations what they were and which we still admire.

When we sing ‘GOD bless our homeland Ghana, and make our nation great and strong…’ what comes to our mind?

Is it that the anthem seems to us like a mere rhyme/poem/song or it inspires and challenges us to be courageous to achieve great things? Or are we thinking GOD Himself will come to make our country great and strong for us? Last time I checked, the best HE does is to give the potential to be great, He doesn’t do it himself!

Source:  Jean-Philip Lawson

Editor’s note: The writer is a graduate of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. The views expressed in this article are his personal opinions and do not reflect, in any form or shape, those of  The Media General Group.