COVID-19 – Traditional authorities must show leadership

Mr Harry A Attipoe

Traditional authorities have been called upon to redouble their leadership roles in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and not abandon the task to the government alone.

Mr Harry A. Attipoe, Registrar of the Volta Region House of Chiefs, said in a statement to the Presidents of the various Traditional Councils in the Region that traditional leaders held prime authority in the communities and were, therefore, most instrumental in promoting the fight against the disease.

He said the House was concerned about the rate of spread of the second wave of the virus, and that in solidarity with the government’s efforts at fighting the disease, traditional authorities should lead the implementation of the preventive measures.

Mr Attipoe said self-discipline and compliance remained the only way out of the pandemic, therefore traditional authorities must whip up their communities into line.

“The Volta Region House of Chiefs is concerned at the rate at which the second wave of the COVID-19 is spreading in the region and country and stands in solidarity with the procedures and measures taken by the government to curtail or control the spread of the virus.

The House urges all presidents of the various traditional councils and areas to work hand in hand by complementing government efforts in fighting the pandemic.

“We as custodians of the various traditional areas cannot look unconcerned while the burden lies solely on the government. As traditional leaders, we are closer to the people and our voices are familiar to the people,” he said.

The Registrar asked leaders of the traditional areas to collaborate with the security agencies towards ensuring that citizens did not congregate under any circumstance, and to keep funeral attendance at the 25-person threshold.

Traditional leaders were reminded to also promote continuous compliance with the essential coronavirus prevention protocols, which includes the use of nose masks, social distancing, thorough hand washing with soap under running water, and the use of hand sanitizers.

Mr Attipoe further appealed to Chiefs to regulate traditional ceremonies and rites, saying the House recognised the significance of traditional rites but would expect traditional leaders to redesign the ceremonies to suit the times.

“All traditional festivals should be suspended with immediate effect. Rites that are associated with traditional festivals and religious days are to be restricted to indoors with fewer numbers.

“The House knows that these rites are important to our institution, but the times are such that we cannot continue to do things as usual. The only way to defeat this pandemic is to exhibit self-discipline and follow the laid down modus operandi,” the Registrar stated.


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