THE NATIONAL Organiser of the GaDangme Youth and Country Co-ordinator of La Citizens Network (LACNet), Nii Yemo Yemofio, has suggested that the GaDangme State should commence thinking about a way to expunge the culture of ban on noise making from the Homowo calendar if its traditional leaders would continue to “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 Yemofio made these assertions in an exclusive interview with the Wojaku in reaction some aspects of the funeral arrangements of the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills, former President of the Republic of Ghana.
In August 2012, the love of their late President and desire to pay their last respect whatever the consequences compelled some traditional leaders of the GaDangme State to compromise on their customary tradition of ban on noise making, and holding of funerals during certain periods.
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) during the period protested against the holding of the late Presidents’ funeral because it coincided with a key ritual of their Homowo celebration – “ye-yee-ye”. 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 was laid to rest were 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, 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, the so-called ‘extension of the funeral’ turned out to be a deception. It was in fact 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 II, 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 tradition in the face.
Wojaku was reliably informed that, the Homowo Planning Committee under the chairmanship of Honourable George Kormietteh has also brooked another GH¢5,000.00 pacification deal with the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) for the church to conduct a Service in honour of the late President at the Trade Fair Site in defiance of the ban on noise making.
At as short ceremony to hand over the cash to the Homowo Planning Committee at La during the period, 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 developmental agenda because the Church does not celebrate Homowo with you people.”
The Lakpa Wulomo, Nii Yemo Obloni IV, High Priest of the Lakpa deity, who successfully performed the pacification rites for the defilement of the land late last year, was also quoted as being misled by the Traditional elders.
Nii Yemo Obloni IV 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 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.
“…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.