President Akufo-Addo made the declaration on Tuesday, 3 July 2018, when the family of the late vice-president called on President Akufo-Addo to officially inform him of the death of Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
The president described the late vice-president as a “very vibrant personality in our national life who still had so much in him to give to Ghana.”
The president noted that the reception of the news of the late vice-president’s death is a testimony to how the generality of Ghanaians felt about him.
“As I said, when I came to the house on Friday, I was told about this – on Saturday, I am sorry – I was told about this earlier in the morning on Friday. It was a very awkward day for me. There was a Martyrs’ Day Service and I had to go to Navrongo. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it for several seconds when the Minister of National Security ran to let me know what had happened,” he said.
The president added, “He wasn’t a very close friend of mine, but I knew him. I had a great deal of admiration and respect for him. I thought he was a very fine public servant. He was a man of dignity and humility, conducted himself very well in the public space of our country.”
In response to a request of the family for a simple, solemn, dignified burial, the president explained that the late vice-president “is no longer just another member of the family, he is state property. He is a high ranking official of our state. A man who was vice-president, who, therefore, could have become the president of Ghana, is not, with respect, an ordinary person. He cannot be treated in the normal manner, so, to some extent those wishes would have to give way to the status that he had.”
It is for this reason, the president indicated that he has taken the decision to give the late Vice President given a full state burial.
“As of today, for the next five days, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast here and across the country in commemoration of the death of our former vice-president. We are opening an official book of condolence for him at the International Conference Centre from tomorrow morning, and instructions have been given by me to the Foreign Minister to open books of condolence for him across all the Missions of Ghana across the world,” he said.
It is important, President Akufo-Addo noted, to recognise that it is a national loss.
“It is not a loss for his party or his family or for the community from which he came. It is a loss for the entire Ghanaian nation and it is on that basis that the arrangements will be made – places where he should be buried, of course those are matters for the family to have predominant say,” he added.