Saturday, October 6, 2007
MONEY LENDERS NOW INTO LAVISH FUNERAL FINANCING IN SEKONDI-TAKORADI
By: CLEMENT ADZEI-BOYE, BUSUA
The crave by Ghanaians to mount lavish funeral ceremonies, has again surfaced for public debate. In the Sekondi-Takoradi municipality, funeral events are held each week. These go with lavish spending on ambulances, food, drinks, and the hiring of loud speakers; expensive clothes of different kinds are also displayed at the funeral for show.
At the climax of this year’s Kundum festival celebrations in Ahantaland, the Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr. Sampson Kwaku Boafo, stated that funerals were for solemn moments and not merry-making.
“For one worrying phenomenon creeping into the social fabric of the Ghanaian society these days is that funerals are also becoming competitive festivals at which wealth is lavishly displayed,” he said, adding that the bounteous funeral parties leave huge debts on the heads of the bereaved families.
Mr. Boafo therefore appealed to chiefs to counsel their people “to honour the dead in moderation so that monies are saved for the benefit and welfare of needy family members.”
He asked traditional leaders to mount campaign to discourage expensive funerals, by coming out with guidelines on funeral to check the practice.
Reacting to the Minister’s sentiments on the issue, former Western Regional manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr. G. K. Nyanne said if the celebrations of funerals do not leave the domain of business then “we should forget about legislation.”
Mr. Nyanne told the Spectator that, in certain areas some financiers took funerals as contracts, finance them and later took their profit from donations. The solution, he agreed, lay on the shoulders of traditional leaders and traditional councils.
However, Aba Tawiah, an official at the Centre for National Culture pointed out to the Spectator that legislation or guidelines would be mere “paper tiger” if not backed by strong will from traditional leaders.
The potency of the guidelines will depend on who is going to enforce them, “she said, noting that funeral celebrations had become lavish. “Everybody wants to show off, because we are copying. We need some modesty in our desire to mourn the dead,” she suggested.
The Spectator Saturday, October 6, 2007 Page: 5