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TROUBLE BREWS IN LA – Over Compromise on Homowo Traditions

Nii Yemo Obroni IV, Lakpa Wulomo

THE LOVE OF their late President and desire to pay their last respect whatever the consequences has compelled some traditional leaders of the GaDangme State to defy the odds and compromise on their customary traditions.

Wojaku can reliably report that, traditional rulers of the Osu and La Traditional Areas stabbed the age-long tradition and custom in the back with the acceptance of pacification cash in order to support the government in the holding of the 3-day funeral and burial of the late President Evans Atta-Mills in Accra.

One key tradition of the GaDanmge culture in the celebration of the Homowo festival is the ban on noise making for a period, during which the traditional rulers are also barred from seeing dead bodies whilst members of the community are not permitted to conduct any funeral on the soil of the traditional area concerned.

The people of Ga Mashie (British Accra) last week protested against the holding of the late Presidents’ funeral on Friday, 10th August 2012 because it coincided with “Ye-yee-ye”, a key ritual of their Homowo celebration. As talks were still going on, the people of Osu led by Nii Kinka Dowuona IV, Osu Mantse (a claimant of the Osu Stool) in the Greater Accra Region submitted that the State House where the funeral would be held, and the Castle precincts where the late President is expected to be laid to rest are all on Osu lands and therefore would not interfere with the Homowo traditional rites of the Ga Traditional Area.

Monday, August 6, 2012, the people of La also conducted customary rites to mark the beginning of the ban on noise making in the La Traditional Area. Two days later, on Wednesday, traditional leaders of the town went behind the Wulomei to accept “pacification cash” from government functionaries to permit an extension of the three-day funeral to the forecourt of the Ghana International Trade Fair.  However, Wojaku is reliably informed that, the so-called ‘extension of the funeral’ is a deception, but a musical side attraction jointly organized by the Musicians Association of Ghana (MUSIGA) and the Ghana Actors’ Guild (GAG) who wanted to honour the late President in their own way.

Information gathered by Wojaku indicate that the Member of Parliament for the La Dadekotopon Constituency, Hon. Nii Amasa Namoale, who was then in Cape Coast linked Mr. Danny Annang, 2nd Vice Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to Nii Oteng MacGranaky I, Abafun Akutsotse (Mantse) and a member of the La Traditional Council; and the GH¢5,000.00 ‘pacification’ deal was successfully brooked, slapping the age-old custom and peaceful tradition in the face.

Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III, La Mantse

Wojaku was reliably informed that, the Homowo Planning Committee under the chairmanship of Honourable George Kormietteh has also brooked a GH¢5,000.00 pacification deal with the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) for the church to conduct a Church Service in honour of the late President at the Trade Fair Site in defiance of the ban on noise making.

At a short ceremony to hand over the cash to the Homowo Planning Committee at La early this week, a Pastor of the Church was quoted as saying; ” …this money is not for the celebration of the Homowo or any other ritual associated with it, but as a token to the people of La in support of any development project because CAC (the Church) does not celebrate Homowo with you people.”

Snippets of information reaching the Wojaku NewsDesk indicate that the leadership of the La Youth Association (LAYA) and the La Citizens Network (LACNet) are not so enthused about these developments and are consulting amongst the youth for a possible showdown with the traditional rulers during the Homowo festival.

A key member of the La Youth Association fingered the La Homowo Planning Committee as playing double-standards in this years’ homowo celebration.

The Lakpa Wulomo, Nii Yemo Obloni IV, who is the High Priest of the Lakpa deity, and on whose head lays the performance of the pacification rites for the defilement of the land, has stated that he was misled by the Traditional elders.

Nii Yemo Obloni VI suggested that he was informed that a giant screen was going to be put up at the forecourt of the Trade Fair Centre for people to watch the funeral…”since the human traffic at the State House was getting out of hand”.

In a telephone conversation monitored by Wojaku Research, Nii Oteng McGranaky II said after he had been contacted by Mr. Danny Annang, he and the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III consulted with the Lakpa Wulomo who named the items that would be required for the pacification of the gods which among other things included one cow, one carton Castle Bridge, 12 pieces of White Calico and an amount of GH¢5,000.00.

“…I informed the government people of the demands and a deal was made,’ Nii Oteng McGranaky II concluded.

Showing grave concern in an interview with Wojaku on the issue, Nii Yemofio, Country Co-ordinator of LACNet indicated that with these developments, the GaDangme State should be prepared to expunge the culture of ban on noise making from the Homowo calendar in the near future since there would always be leaders who for the sake of their selfish and parochial interest, accept ‘kickbacks’ to compromise on the traditions and culture of the people they profess to lead.

Nii Amasa Namoale, MP for La Dadekotopon

“…with the recent development, the GaDangmes should be prepared to cancel the ban on noise making from the Homowo calendar in the near future, because there would always be persons who would like to compromise on our traditions and cultures for selfish reasons,” he stated.

Nii Laryea Odamtten, a concerned youth leader of LAYA lamented; “Our traditions and cultures are dying due to the selfish acts of some of our leaders whose aim is to enrich themselves and better the lot of their families. They do not have the protection of our heritage at heart and is pathetic”.

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