OccupyGhana, a pressure group, has expressed concern about the disregard for the COVID-19 safety protocols at the funeral and burial of the former Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John.
In a press release it said the behaviour of people in a position to know better was deeply worrying and expressed the hope that the event would not turn out to be a super spreader with more deaths and hospitalisations.
Should this happen, the pressure group said, “government would have no one but itself to blame for its inability and unwillingness to show a better example”.
Sir John, a former general secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party, was laid to rest on Thursday, June 3, following his funeral rites of the at the Sakora Wonoo Junior High School, in the Kwabre East District of the Ashanti Region.
A large gathering of mourners, including President Nana Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, secretary – general of the National Democratic Congress and many other politicians, joined his family, community members and well-wishers to bid him farewell.
The outspoken affable politician and lawyer, died on July 1, 2020, according to reports from Covid-19 complications.
The statement said: “Occupy Ghana has watched with consternation news reports, videos and photographs at the funeral and burial of Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, which event packed thousands of politicians, well-wishers and mourners into a park, with minimal mask wearing, absolutely no social distancing and a wanton disregard for the funeral restrictions imposed by government.
“We do not think that what happened did justice to the memory of a man who was reputed to be a man of discipline.”
It said in their earlier press release on May 2, 2021 regarding the holding of the Christ Embassy religious event at the Fantasy Dome, they thought no reminders were needed that the ‘dangerous and deadly COVID-19 was still present and active among us’.
In that release, it said, Occupy Ghana hailed the government’s imposition of protocols by law, which they believed demanded compliance, by all.
“To wake up to contrary behaviour by prominent members of the same government and other politicians, after we have seen the colossal human disaster that has unfolded in India, caused by unrestrained political activities and religious events that did not respect COVID-19 protocols, is both disappointing and frightening,” it added.
“We cannot show such a remarkable sense of recklessness and abandon in these times and not expect to reap disastrous and possibly deadly consequences.”
The pressure group said they had seen the Police resort to court injunctions and threats of force to stop the planned, “#fixGhana protests and demonstrations’, with the ‘weak’ excuse that they would defy the same Act.
“We hasten to ask whether the government has any moral authority now where these matters are concerned?”
It extended to Sir John and his family all the deserving courtesies, respect and condolences.
However, it said, the irony was not lost on them that due to COVID-19, a British Royal and Duke had only 30 people in attendance at his funeral.
The whole world witnessed it said, adding, “We thought much lessons could have been gleaned from that utterly humane event around a person of global stature.”
It, therefore, reiterated its call on all Ghanaians to keep respecting the COVID-19 protocols in all situations.
“We must protect ourselves and our loved ones, even when people who should know better break the law, while enforcing it against others,” it added.