General News of 2014-01-22

Allow families to hold 'expensive' funerals - Tony Aidoo

Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency, Dr. Tony Aidoo says he dissents the decision by some traditional rulers entirely banning their subjects from organizing expensive funeral ceremony for their dead relatives.
According to him, the importance of funerals in the Ghanaian traditional setting cannot be overlooked and for that matter, families should be allowed to mourn their dead in whichever way they want, provided they have the means to do so.
Many have criticized as a waste, the practice of using huge sums of money to organize funeral ceremonies on the dead, while family members wallow in abject poverty. Chiefs in some traditional areas have subsequently banned their subjects from organizing expensive funeral to celebrate their dead.
But a dissenting Tony Aidoo said on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday that; "If they [families] can afford it, they should stretch it [funeral] as long as possible".
"In the relationship between death and managing grief, the funeral stands as a very important functional event...To this extent, I disagree with some local chiefs and public opinion that we conduct too much of expensive funeral.
"...Why should we mourn a head of state for three days or four days and yet, when the family decides to mourn their dead for two days, you are objecting?", Dr. Aidoo queried.
Dr. Aidoo said the process of planning for the funeral and burial of a dead relative also presents the opportunity for family members to be unified.
"At a point in time when family is disintegrated it provides the opportunity to bring the family together.
"When my wife died last year (2013)...for three weeks, I cried everyday quietly in my own bed and I am always crying. At that point, I wish I had somebody, who could take my mind off it and divert my attention to other things", he lamented.
He however condemned the situation where some family members see the death of a relative as money making avenues to the detriment of their survivors.
"One thing we have to watch out [for] is to see the death of a person as an opportunity for material gains...You shouldn't look towards the inheritance of the dead person to make your life; you should go out there and make your own life," he advised.