Mankessim came to a standstill on Saturday as hundreds of mourners thronged the town to join family and constituents to pay their last respects to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mfantseman Constituency, Ekow Kwansah Hayford, before he could be laid to rest.
There was human and vehicular traffic as people plodded to where the MP, who was murdered on Friday, October 9, 2020, while returning from a campaign tour, had been laid in state.
There was an atmosphere of grief as hundreds of mourners wept uncontrollably during the burial of the MP.
Among the mourners, mostly clad in red and black, were the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumiam, Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Paramount Chiefs, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), and heads of institutions.
As the wailing continued, some of the mourners asked in anguish why such a heinous crime as murder could be perpetrated against somebody (MP) who approached his constituents with humility regardless of a person’s social status, education or political and religious affiliations.
The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu, in a tribute at the funeral service, called on residents of the Mfantseman constituency to vote massively for the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the area, Mrs Ophelia Mensah-Hayford, in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
He explained that “Ekow, having died in line of duty and in service to your people, it is right to say that the greatest tribute that the good people of Mfantseman can pay to honour your memory is to vote massively for your replacement.”
He expressed optimism that the NPP Parliamentary candidate for the constituency in the December 7 elections was capable of continuing the legacy of the late MP, explaining that Mrs Mensah-Hayford had the ability and tenacity to do so.
Mr Boadu explained that the MP identified himself with the grassroots and was actively involved in the 2012 campaign after he had joined the NPP in 2007 and that due to his hard work and commitment, there was an overwhelming clarion call for him to contest the Mfantseman seat in the 2016 elections, which he did and won.
He said Hayford was the first candidate to win the seat for the NPP from opposition.
Mr Boadu noted that the MP never took his people for granted as he worked towards improving the standards of his constituents, saying, “He was very accessible.”
He said the MP never disgraced the NPP as he brought dignity and honour to the position of an MP, saying “Ekow Kwansah Hayford served his people with passion and dedication at all times”.
Mr Boadu stated that the NPP was proud to have had him as a member of the party and that his unfortunate demise had created a huge gap not only for the Mfantseman constituency but also the Central Region and the nation at large.
The wife of the murdered MP, Mrs Ophelia Mensah-Hayford, who is now the NPP parliamentary candidate for Mfantseman, described the late husband as one who identified himself with the people.
She made a firm commitment that she would not disgrace the late MP because he did not disgrace her when he was alive.
“I will honour you, I will ensure all your toil and hard work on this earth will not go down the drain. I will hold the fort because you taught me how to love, to smile and to forgive. I stand here to say to the perpetrators that they have failed because you have a pillar behind you,” she stated.
In a tribute read on behalf of Parliament, the Majority Chief Whip, Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, explained that the late MP was a diligent member of the house who regularly attended its sittings and committee meetings and also made useful contributions.
Parliament, he said, would have wished to have the MP for many years to enable him to work with other MPs as he came across as a virtuous soul.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, MANKESSIM