Some mourners at the Accra International Conference Centre who were eager to pay their final respects to former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan, were left disappointed because they were unable to catch a glimpse of the remains of the peace icon in his casket.
According to some of them, the closure of the casket was not in sync with the Ghanaian way of honouring the dead.
One mourner who spoke to Citi News said the closed casket took something away from the ceremony.
“I wasn’t happy when the coffin wasn’t opened. During the Vice President’s own, the coffin was opened and we all viewed it, so for this one, I wasn’t happy,” she said.
“We were surprised and we just came and saw the casket closed with a Ghana flag [draped over it]. So we were just asking that; did we come to observe the Ghana flag or we came to observe [him],” another mourner stated.
A Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, however, downplayed the concerns.
“There are several high profile funerals in which I have seen the casket covered, even in this country, so it is not a major problem,” he told Citi News.
He said the focus should be on the occasion, which is trying to mirror Kofi Annan’s apparent modesty.
“The man Kofi Annan himself is a modest person and he doesn’t want a lot of flamboyance around the funeral… even as we give him a befitting state funeral, we think that it is still important that we respect his wishes of keeping it a little modest, a little soft and so on and so forth.”
On Wednesday, September 12, dignitaries are expected to file past and pay their last respects to Kofi Annan.
A burial service will then take place on September 13 at the Conference Centre before he is finally laid to rest at the new Military Cemetery.