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Opinions Sun, 16 Mar 2014

The Implications of Banning Funeral While Otumfuo Celebrates His…

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Sixteenth year anniversary of his ascension to the Golden Stool as the Overlord of Asanteman. I have for a while not been following closely the socio-politico-economic developments back home in Ghana due to the fact of needing sufficient rest after illness. While still recuperating, having recoiled into my shell, people are still contacting me to seek my views on the impending much publicised anniversary.

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As opinions are like noses with each individual having one, whether beautiful or ugly, I have to share my views on the issue. I see nothing wrong about anyone celebrating an important occasion in their life, be it birthday or whatever. However, if any such celebrations do impose restrictions on the freedom or rights of other people for a specified period of time, whether short or long, raises a number of questions.

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Many are those bemoaning the fact that they have to reschedule the funeral of their loved ones originally due to take place in April 2014. The remains of their parents, siblings, husband, wife or relatives etc., are icing in mortuary refrigerators. They have to continue to remain there for the next seven weeks or more from the beginning of April 2014 all because the Manhyia Palace has issued a blanket ban on all funeral activities in the Ashanti region until 25 May 2014.

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I find the ban absurd if, it is not constitutionally mandated by an act of Parliament. Is it written in the Chieftaincy Act that whenever a chief is celebrating their ascension to the throne, a decision probably taken on a whim to divert public attention from their offensive or criminal commitments freshly engraved in the minds of people, they can ban certain public activities for a period of time? If such requirements or obligations are enacted into law, could the authorities make them known to allay the fears or the needless speculations by people who think they are victims of such capricious quests by our chiefs?

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Who will pay for the extra mortuary costs to be incurred by the bereaved families who are obliged by circumstances following the blanket ban on funerals as explained above? Who will pay for the extra charges and penalties, if not the total loss of air tickets, already purchased to attend funerals already scheduled for April 2014 but have to be rescheduled following Otumfuo’s order?

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I think in the event of there being no statutory backing for the chief’s taking such draconian measures; one has the right to sue them for compensation.

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I do not want to delve deeper into this. The little said, is more than enough to educate my people. I do not hate Otumfuo as many people allege. I may disagree with him on a number of issues but I do not hate him. He is entitled to his views as I am entitled to mine. The fact that we have differences of opinions in the way things are conducted does not make us enemies. Each one’s freedom ends where the other’s nose begins.

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I do not like seeing people arrogating to themselves powers erroneously. Let me please quote the following to expound what I mean by Draconian laws. "Draconian relates to Draco, 7th-century Athenian statesman and lawmaker, or his code of laws, which prescribed death for almost every offence". That was how harsh Draco was.

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Our modern day chiefs by the blind support of some seeming ignoramuses seek to pursue policies similar in nature to those of Draco. Do we have to allow them? NO!

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Rockson Adofo

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson