The mortal remains of arguably one of Ghana’s loved Presidents, John Evans Atta Mills, who died in office in July 2012, is expected to be exhumed from what many had hoped, would be his final resting place.
This is because, his current resting place; Asomdwee Park, has been taken over by marijuana smokers and prostitutes, a family member, has revealed.
A picture is painted of an ungrateful nation which had forgotten a man, who had paid his dues to the country as an athlete, an academic, a tax expert, a revenue collector, a vice-president and then the third president under the fourth republic after Jerry Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor.
Paul Ansah Ackom, a spokesperson for the family of the late President, said the present state of the first presidential mausoleum, is nothing to write home about as prostitutes, wee smokers, cattle and rodents, have invaded the place.
“I visited Asomdwee Park on Saturday, June 8, 2019, and what even killed my soul was when I saw a man sitting on the tomb and smoking weed. I was really hurt,” he bemoaned.
Mr Ackom, wondered why there would be security breaches at such an important state facility which also serves as a tourist site.
He revealed how the tomb of the humble late Professor had been exposed to the vagaries of the weather with its metallic cover developing grim cracks.
What even shocked him, was a facility opposite the tomb meant for a library being turned into a hub for prostitutes.
Based on the sorry state of Asomdwee Park, he said the family is considering moving the mortal remains of late Mills to his hometown for a befitting burial.
Interestingly, an edifice built in the name of the law professor called “John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library”, a memorial and research facility in Cape Coast which was completed and inaugurated about three years ago, is rotting away.
The development stems from the resolve of the contractor who executed the project to hold on to the keys for alleged non-payment for work done.
“The keys are in my pocket; I will not release them until I am fully paid,” Kojo Mamphey has told the Daily Graphic in Cape Coast.
The newspaper reports seeing the facility firmly under lock and key, with flags of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and Ghana flying at half-mast on the compound, when it visited, this week.
The UCC security man at the gate would not answer any questions, saying that every question about the project should be directed at the authorities.
As a result of the proximity of the multi-million-cedi state-of-the-art facility to the sea, some parts had begun falling off, with the air-conditioners and pillars being eaten up by the sea breeze.
Mr Mamphey, who had in the past complained of non-payment for work done, said nothing had changed.
“This situation is breaking my heart; I don’t want to talk about it again,” he said.
Meanwhile, appeals had been made by residents of Cape Coast and other members of the public for the library to be opened for it to serve its intended purpose.
During the sixth anniversary of the passing of Prof. Mills, the Oguaaman Youth Development Association mounted placards registering its disappointment at the continuous closure of the library.
Many placards were placed around the library, calling for its opening.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Did Prof. Atta Mills labour in vain?”, “Is this the reward for serving this great nation?”, “The library is critical to the intellectual development of the citizenry”, “Open the library for the honour and respect of Prof. J.E.A. Mills” and “Is the library for Prof. J.E.A. Mills an honour or a disgrace?”.
Ms Adjoa Adedzewaa, who was a cleaner at the facility, said she had lost her job due to the impasse among the stakeholders.
She was of the view that given its proximity to the Cape Coast Castle, the library could complement the tourist facilities in the region and, therefore, appealed to the government, the contractor and the UCC to resolve their differences and open the facility for the benefit of the country.
The library received a facelift and was decorated in the colours of Ghana and the USA to welcome Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs Melania Trump, the First Ladies of Ghana and the USA, respectively when the latter visited the Cape Coast Castle in 2018, as part of her two-day visit to the country.
Former President, John Dramani Mahama, inaugurated the library on July 24, 2016, to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the death of President Mills.
On that day he had said: “This library should be the presidential library befitting the life of Prof. Mills as a renowned academic, sportsman, politician, President and peace-loving Ghanaian.”
It has a 100-capacity auditorium, a 45-seater multi-media centre, seminar rooms and a museum that holds historical materials that reflect the life and works of the late President.
The edifice also has a virtual sound room that echoes the voice of Prof. Mills in his memorable speeches and images that bring to life his sojourn as a celebrated academic, keen sportsman, humble politician, devout Christian, servant leader, President and peace-loving Ghanaian.
Although, not a typical book library, the facility, will preserve and make available the papers, records, collections and historical materials of President Mills and other prominent African intellectuals and political leaders.