Chairman of the Nigerian chapter of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kofi Atiemo-Gyan has begun a new wave of campaign against funerals in Ghana.
He believes funerals in general are but a waste of time and resources and must be abolished if possible.
In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, the 78-year old lawyer who is currently on holidays in Ghana expressed disgust at the manner in which Ghanaians cherish the dead more than the living.
“Funerals are too expensive in this country that we are being mocked by the British press”, he noted, recalling how one of the British media houses recently published a story on how Ghanaians spend so much money to bury their dead.
He stressed that these funerals stifle productivity in Ghana, insisting that “funerals have taken the working time in Ghana to an extent that we even cherish them than the work that puts food on our table and money in our pockets.”
According to him, “the actual working days in Ghana have been reduced to mainly Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; sometimes you will go to an office, be it a Ministry, Department or Agency and most government establishments and when you ask of the schedule officer who will attend to your needs, you are told he or she has gone to a funeral and will return on Monday.”
Meanwhile, he indicated, “when he or she returns on Monday, instead of going to work, he would use the day to rest and resume work on Tuesday. That alone should tell how much we are losing to these funerals.”
He also had course to complain about the way some families and people even keep dead bodies in morgues for a year and over and in the process accrue so much expenditure which could otherwise have been channeled into productive use like paying school fees or as a start-up capital for a member of the family who may be in need, “but all these monies will be wasted on a dead body for nothing.”
What seemed to annoy him the most was the fact that “some even go to borrow money to organize these funerals for people to come and eat and drink, sometimes giving nothing in return and what has become more of a ‘serve yourself’ (open buffets) and dinners after funerals in recent times.”
“The annoying thing is that they will say they are paying last respect; how can you pay last respect to a person who is dead?” he asked rhetorically.
Meanwhile, he said “we end up celebrating the dead more than the living by spending rather more on funerals than when a new baby is being outdoored or named.”
He is therefore seeking the intervention of Parliament, if possible, and especially traditional rulers and churches to help regulate funerals in the country as Muslims do.