When the strict enforcement of the ban on drumming and noise making by the Ga Traditional Council to herald the celebration of the annual Homowo some decades ago was at its peak, there were tussles between the council on one side, and religious organisations and drinking bar operators on the other.
While it is the contention of the traditional council, here refered to as landlords, that their tenants – churches, mosques, bar operators in the metropolis – had to observe the month’s ban, the churches argued that by kowtowing to the dictates of the council would mean relinquishing their beliefs on the altar of the ‘gods’ of the Council.
So anytime the ban came into force, there was rancour and insecurity in Accra, particularly, between the young stoutly built men from the Ga Traditional Council, who wanted the status quo to remain and the youth of some churches.
The Ga youth would storm the ‘recalcitrant’ churches, seize their drums and musical instruments and assault anybody who dared to be a hindrance to their cause. There was virtually disorder in the enforcement of this ban.
Some of these youth from the tradition authorities most times abused the situation.
They would go to churches, seize the drums and instruments, send them to a supposed chief’s palace, where churches were to later pick them up at a fee.
With time, a compromise was reached among all stakeholders, perhaps on the strong Christian admonishment that “If it should come from you, make peace with all.”
Just last week, on May 15, 2023, the ban order came into force, and as part of the interventions to broker peace, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs said clapping in auditorium be allowed during ban on noise-making.
According to a release issued, the churches could use microphones and public address systems in their auditoriums at reduced volumes during the period of the ban on drumming and noise making by the Ga Traditional Council.
A statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Halima S. Yakubu, and issued in Accra, said clapping of hands at a minimum level was also permissible only in church auditoriums during the period.
It explained that that followed engagements between the ministry and stakeholders over the annual traditional ritual.
Loudspeakers were also banned from being positioned outside the premises of churches, mosques and pubs, while roadside evangelists must cease their activities during the period.
The ban is expected to last for one month. Ever since it came into force, there has been sanity, as excessive noise from microphones and public address systems have now been confined to their “auditorium at reduced volumes”.
The propensity for some churches, established within residential areas, to make undesired sound and put their community on edge has been of grave concern to a lot of people.
These churches, which assume wrongly, though, that the higher the volume of the microphone to an undesired level to disturb everyone, the easier it is for the almighty God to listen to their supplications have now had to comply with the ban order.
The dangers inherent in noise making, such as exposing people in such communities and even their congregants to hearing loss, effect on the cardiovascular system as hormones are stressed, among others, are not unknown to these churches and their leadership.
The noise also affects the heartbeat of victims and pregnant women.
Within the few days that the ban has been in place, there has been ‘perfect tranquility’ in areas and homes that these churches have been situated.
Residents can make and receive calls without interference from such noises.
The sick can now have a sound environment to recover rapidly.
Our bane has been that our law enforcers on noise making, such as the metropolitan, municipal and districts assemblies, and the Environmental Protecting Agency, on many occasions, fail to enforce the law ‘’lest they touch the anointed.”
Since there is now an order, which is benefiting not only the Ga people and the Homowo ritual, may I, humbly appeal to the Ga Traditional Council to extend the ban period to three months to enable us to recover and enjoy peace from the noise produced by these churches and their public address systems.