Ga Manye funeral: Traditional rites reach fever pitch
Preparations have reached fever pitch at the Ga Traditional Council for the funeral rites of the Ga Manye, Naa Dedei Omaedru III.
A visit by the Daily Graphic to the traditional seat at Kaneshie in Accra yesterday revealed that the palace grounds were still being prepared for the funeral, with giant speakers and public address systems being mounted.
Both the outer and inner perimeters of the palace had been draped in red and black satin, with a central canopy mounted for public viewing of the remains of the Queenmother of the Ga Traditional Area.
The portrait of Naa Dedei Omaedru had also been displayed around the various canopies.
At the time of the visit around 5 p.m. yesterday, there were traditional drumming and other performances related to the funeral.
There was also heavy police presence deployed to the area to ensure law, order and provide protection to the bereaved and mourners.
While some of the police personnel had mounted a barrier outside the palace, others were stationed within the palace to keep guard.
The Chief of Protocol and Communications for the Ga Mantse, Sylvester Parker-Allotey, explained that on Saturday, October 28, no one was expected to be seen outside after 6 p.m. within the Ga Traditional Area, which covers essentially the Central Business District (CBD), known as Ga Mashie, and all jurisdictions falling under it.
He indicated that the areas that would be affected were all satellite communities otherwise known as “Ga rural” under the six paramountcies of the traditional council, namely Sempe, Akumadjan, Gbese, Abola, Otublohum and Asere.
Mr Parker-Allotey, who is also the Chairman of the Protocol Committee for the funeral, said shops and markets in Ga Mashie would be closed for business from the morning of Saturday, as part of the observance of rites towards the burial of the Ga Manye.
The one-day ban on business activities is a compromised position from the three-day closure the Ga Traditional Council had earlier announced.
Addressing a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Parker-Allotey, a retired diplomat, stated: “We hereby announce that on Saturday, 28th October 2023, all commercial activities within Greater Accra will be suspended as a mark of solemn respect and final farewell to our beloved queen”.
He said the funeral was not merely an event, but “a celebration of the cherished values and principles upheld by the late Ga Manye, including community service, unity, peace and the demonstration of our rich GaDangbe cultural heritage.”
The Sempe Mantse and Mankralo of the Ga State, Nii Adotey Otintor II, who is also the Chairman of the Central Funeral Planning Committee, implored residents within the Ga State to set aside “just one day out of the 365 days in the year" without opening their shops for the smooth burial of the queenmother.
It’s one day
There is confusion, however, about the number of days the traditional curfew is to be observed and shops to remain shut.
When the Daily Graphic visited the CBD of Accra yesterday in the morning, the streets were busy as usual with vehicles, market women and shoppers competing for space while they buy, sell and commute.
Some of the traders who spoke with the Daily Graphic explained that although they wished they could trade in the coming days, they had no choice but to comply with the directive.
Some banks have also sent notices to their customers that they will not open for business from Thursday to Saturday within Ga Mashie, especially in the CBD.
“We join the Ga State in mourning Naa Dedei Omaedru III.
In view of this, our Accra Main, Tudu, Makola, Ring Road, Movenpick, North Industrial Area, Dansoman and West Hill Mall branches will be closing at 4 p.m. this week,” a message from one of the banks read.
Meanwhile, the Accra High Court has put an interim injunction on the handling of the remains of Naa Dedei Omaedru.
The interim injunction, which would last for 10 days, effective yesterday, restrains the Chairman of the Funeral Planning Committee, Nii Odotey Otintor II, Naa Yarley Sarkodie Amoah or anybody acting on their behalf from handling, organising, touching, performing or dealing with the remains of the late queenmother who ruled for 59 years.
“It is hereby ordered that the Defendants/Respondents or the Funeral Committee chaired by Ni Otintor II, all members of the committee, their privies, workmen, assigns and all persons working through them are restrained from handling, organising, touching, performing or dealing with the remains of the late Queenmother, Naa Dedei Omaedru II in any manner for a period of ten (10) days,” the court presided over by Justice Patrick Baayeh, stated.
The interim injunction follows an application by the Head of Antie We of Kpone, Nuumo Emmanuel T. Antia We, the Ankobea of Antie We, Nii Addy Oba-Aasaa II, and five others.
However, the Ga Traditional Council and Central Funeral Planning Committee said they had not been served with any letter of injunction on the holding of the funeral for the late Ga Manye.
Mr Parker-Allotey told the Daily Graphic yesterday that although they had heard reports of an ex-parte application at the High Court for a stay of the funeral without the consent of the family of the late Ga Manye, the committee had not been served with any notice.
He explained that as far as he was concerned, it was “the children of the late Ga Manye” who had issues but the opportunity had been created for dialogue between them and the committee and that as far as the committee was concerned there was no issue.
When asked what the issue was about, he declined to comment further, saying it was not meant for public consumption.
"In any funeral, children don't have that much weight in what happens as the paternal and maternal families, but particularly for us Gas, it is the paternal side which has greater weight, so if you don't achieve consensus among yourselves that's very unfortunate," Mr Parker-Allotey stressed.
He said the committee was going ahead with funeral arrangements as planned until such time that the court processes were exhausted and the court placed an injunction.