And Funeral Etiquettes Vanished

Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur filing past the body of her husband, the late former Vice President of Ghana, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur

Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur is not known to be decorous or even calm-natured. Her public performance last Friday was characteristic of her. What bothered those who were shaken or even disturbed by her angst and the innuendo-laden expression following it, was the venue for the outburst.

When she left the podium, her body language suggested that she was going to assault somebody. Even though she did not do that, it was possible she thought of doing so but for a sudden reduction of her adrenalin rise.

Funeral services, especially, those about dignitaries such as former Vice Presidents demand concentrated doses of solemnity. The ambience must be devoid of anything which can overshadow the subject of the gathering; which is the mourning of the dead. Unfortunately, Matilda ended up having people posing questions about whether her husband was treated as a stooge with no real executive powers of a vice president in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

Her first attraction of public opprobrium was her bad performance in the Eastern Region when she embarrassed a head teacher over shortage of chalks.

She descended upon the head teacher for daring to complain about the shortage of chalks in the school with an assurance that ‘you would neither have chalks today nor tomorrow.’

It was so bad that it, of course, made headlines in the media. She expectedly got the public flak for her bad conduct. And now this funeral day show of hubris and disrespect for the dead not forgetting the dignitaries.

It really does not matter who her targets were. What matters is that, she breached our values as Africans which demand that we show respect to our leaders and elders not forgetting the dead. Unless Matilda seeks to show that she could not care a hoot about African or Ghanaian values.

We do not know why former President John Mahama was ostensibly shedding tears at the funeral. While cynics think that he was shedding tears over Matilda’s innuendo-laden remarks about hypocrites, others say he was only pretending to shed tears for the cameras.

We wish to remind Matilda that at such solemn occasions, negative things are not said about the dead; these are overlooked as a standard.

Did she want to hear about the fouling of the political atmosphere in which her husband partook during the last election campaign?

Anyway, the deceased was a typical local politician exchanging invectives with his opponents.

Let us remind her about one of the deceased’s below-the-belt campaign invectives ‘short people need to be carried to help them see President Mahama’s massive achievements.’

Her husband sought to please the NDC by being insulting but for want of appropriate hitting vitriolic he picked his boss’ John Mahama’s ‘ Akufo-Addo did not see the massive infrastructure in the Western Region because he was sleeping’ template.

Matilda perhaps needs some lessons on funeral etiquettes.