Ghana: A National Funeral Conference

Sunyani, Feb. 19, GNA – Seikwa Traditional Council in Tain District has proposed a national stakeholders’ conference to brainstorm on how to reduce the cost of funerals in the country. The council said the conference must be under the auspices of the National House of Chiefs and the National Commission on Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture. Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani, Nana Kwaku Dwuma Ankoana II, the Paramount Chief of Seikwa, said the council had deemed it necessary to add its voice to the call for the adoption of measures to control expenditure during funerals.

“There is the need for our traditional authorities to come out with bye-laws and rules to control the excesses of burial and funeral celebrations in our communities and drastically reduce their high cost”, he said. “To honour the dead is important and an acceptable norm of our customary law practice but that must not be done at the expense of the living.”

Nana Ankoana said “if we make it a resolve to reduce high expenditure during funeral celebrations enough resources will be saved to carry out developmental projects to enhance the lives of the people”. He expressed regret that the practice in most communities was the sheer display of affluence, flamboyance and ostentation. “We have turned mourning, a period of grief and sorrow, into that of joy and merry-making.” He said his traditional council had since February 2005 been observing customary burial and funeral celebrations by-laws/rules to stem the tide of extravagance,

“Penalties in the form of fines were imposed on individuals and families who acted beyond bounds and the amount charged is dependent on the gravity and degree of the penalty as stipulated by the regulations.” Nana Ankoana said the fines were paid into an educational endowment fund.