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Regional News of Saturday, 24 May 2014

Source: The Chronicle

‘Ban on noise-making still in force’

The Tema Traditional Council (TTC) has reminded authorities of the Eastern Naval Command of the Ghana Navy in Tema that the ban on noise-making, which includes drumming, dancing, merry-making and any other form of noise making, is still in force.

According to the TTC, it has been brought to its attention that the Command, during its training sessions, has been making noise, which the indigenes and residents are not happy about.

The residents, therefore, complained about the issue to the Paramount Chief of the area and his elders, and upon investigations, they realised that the Ghana Navy was not well informed as to when the festivities start and end, an indication of the fact that there is a communication problem.

The spokesperson for the TTC, Nii Shipii Armah, speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Naval Command, including Commodore Stephen Darbo, Eastern Naval Commander, explained that the ban on noise-making is still in force. Nii Shipii Armah stated; “We just want to remind your outfit of noise-making, because, residents have made references to the Command as the source of noise-making in the area. Then we decided to check where the noise was coming from.” He continued that the TTC, having discovered that the noise within the community was a result of the activities of the Naval Command, thought it was important to send a delegation to come and alert them on the issue, to avoid antagonism

He reiterated that it was their belief that the Naval Command was not adequately informed, and, therefore, it was important for them to make it official, so that they will be able to comply with the directive. Reacting to the issue, Commodore Stephen Darbo, who also doubles as the No. 1 Garrison Commander, apologised for the noise-making, saying that they were not aware of the ban.

He explained that even though his outfit was aware of the ban on noise-making in the Ga Mashie area, they did not know that of Tema was on a different date, saying they thought they were all working at the same time. Commodore Darbo indicated: “We thought that it was only in Accra that the ban on noise-making was being observed. We did not know that it is being done in Tema as well.” The Eastern Naval Commander expressed regret, saying: “We were not officially informed, but I must say that ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

He assured the TTC that the Naval Command, under his watch, will not go against the customs and traditions of the people, and that what happened was not deliberate, just that they did not know. “We asked that next year, TTC should officially inform us about the period, so that we schedule our work accordingly, not to go against the tradition,” he stated. He hinted that one of these days he would return the visit of the traditional authorities by leading the leadership of the Command to the Chief’s palace to interact with them for peace and tranquility to prevail in the town. The meeting was climaxed with a lunch.

The annual Homowo Festival, which is celebrated by the Ga people from the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, begins with the sowing of millet by the traditional priests in May every year.

According to Ga oral tradition, a severe famine broke out among the people during their migration to present day Accra, and they were inspired by the famine to embark on massive food production, which eventually yielded them a bumper harvest.

Their hunger ended, and with great joy they “hooted at hunger.” It is celebrated to remind the people of their victory over a great famine, which they experienced in the olden days when they were migrating from their ancestral homeland to occupy their present area of settlement. After this, a 30-day ban is placed on drumming, dancing, merry-making and any other form of noise-making in the Ga-Dangme traditional area by the priest of the land. The festival is highlighted at varying times by the different sections of the Ga tribe.

Homowo recounts the migration of the Gas and reveals their agricultural success in their new settlement. The Ga-Dangme traditional area comprises Ga Mashie Accra, Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua, Prampram, Kpone, Ningo, and Tema.