The President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV has called on government to involve traditional leaders in informing and educating the citizenry and ensuring compliance with the preventive directives in the fight against COVID-19.
He commended Ghanaians for joining hands in the fight against the pandemic.
Togbe Afede, who is also the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, said this in a statement signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday.
“We are in this battle together, against the invisible enemy. I am therefore calling for cooperation among all the actors, and in particular, close collaboration between the government, our security agencies and traditional leaders in enforcing the government’s directives and required social distancing protocols,” he said.
“So far, there has been very little effort, if any, to involve the traditional leadership, who should be able to help not only in ensuring compliance with directives and protocols, but in informing and educating the people, among others”.
He commended the patriotism and gallantry of the country’s medical personnel at the forefront of the fight, adding, “I believe, deep in my heart, that together, we shall win this battle.”
Togbe Afede said he was saddened to read last Friday, April 10, about the clash between a police patrol team and a group of Ga traditionalists who had gone to the beach to offer rituals and prayers to ward off the deadly COVID-19.
“I wish to commend our chiefs and other traditional leaders for taking keen interest in the fight against COVID-19. But I also wish to remind all of us, as I did during my address to the National House of Chiefs on March 13, about the need to keep abreast with and abide by the prevention messages and directives issued by the government and health experts, and to educate our subjects accordingly, in order to stem the spread of the disease in our various communities”.
He said the House had agreed to suspend all traditional festivities, and asked that rites associated with traditional festivals and religious days to purify the communities should be restricted to a few people, taking into consideration the protocols and directives on social distancing.
The NHC President said he was aware that some religious leaders have also had problems with the police who have the responsibility for enforcing the government’s directives and the required social distancing protocols.
“I wish to remind our traditional and religious leaders that prayers alone are not sufficient for a successful fight against the raging pandemic. So we must conduct our activities responsibly, so that we do not, inadvertently, aid the devil that we are all up in arms against”.
Similarly, while commending individuals and organisations distributing food to the under-privileged, he asked that they re-examine their methods to observe the social distancing protocol.
Togbe Afede reminded communities that are fighting against the location of COVID-19 isolation centres in their areas to think again, and remember that anyone could contract the disease, adding that the national interest must guide all actions.
He urged all to demonstrate true love for one another and respect the necessary social distancing and personal hygiene protocols to stay safe.