A former Deputy Minister for Health, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has condemned the blatant disregard for COVID-19 safety protocols during the funeral of the late CEO of the Forestry Commission and one-time NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, also known as Sir John.
The funeral had high-profiled state authorities including President Akufo-Addo, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, and other ministers of state in attendance.
Viral videos from the funeral showed many people crowded at the venue with a handful of them wearing facemasks.
The number of people seen at the funeral were also far more than the expected 100 directed by the government as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Juaboso legislator, it is disturbing that President Akufo-Addo did not show leadership by drawing attention to the fact that the funeral he was attending was in complete defiance of his announced COVID-19 restrictions.
“I thought the President was going to lead by example. It becomes exceedingly difficult for people to obey the law we make because the very people who propose the laws and approve them are the same people who at the end of the day flout those rules. It is unacceptable,” he said in an interview on Eyewitness News.
The NDC MP said with information that Sir John died from COVID-19 complications, it was wrong that he was buried amidst a huge public gathering especially as the government had directed and forced other families whose relatives were lost to COVID-19 to have private burials or the state buried them without any funeral activity.
“We are aware of how people who are killed by CVID-19 must be treated and buried. We saw the President file past Sir John’s corpse. Is this the kind of President superintending over the country? [It appears] there is a set of rules and laws for the ordinary Ghanaian, while others [government officials] decide to break the law at any point in time,” he stated.
Kwabena Mintah Akandoh further called on the country’s law enforcement agencies to quickly take action against the organizers of the funeral saying that just as they have done to other citizens in the past by punishing them for breaking the COVID-19 protocols, they must apply the law in this instance.
“We are looking at the law enforcers. If churches could be prosecuted and fined or jailed, we are looking at them. It is rather unfortunate,” he added.
GMA condemns organizers
Meanwhile the Ghana Medical Association, GMA, has called on the country’s security agencies to deal with the organizers of the funeral.
The Association in a statement said it is disappointed that the funeral was done in total disregard for COVID-19 protocols.
“We call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate and deal with the organizers of this and any similar events to serve as a deterrent to others who intend to endanger the public health of our nation. We call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to act without fear or favor in this regard,” the GMA said in a statement.