The pouring of libation in the name of culture has been one of the components of Ghana’s Independence celebrations. It has been the practice since independence to offer Christian Muslim and traditional prayers.
The highlight of the traditional prayers is the pouring of libation. That is the country’s indigenous worship. It has been with Ghanaians since time immemorial.
But for some time now, it has been missing from national gatherings.
Indeed during the ceremony to mark Ghana’s 54th anniversary at the Independence Square on Sunday, the Ga customary practices, which normally feature in the celebration in Accra, was conspicuously absent.
Though no official reasons have been assigned for the apparent halt in pouring of libation at State functions, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt believes it was a deliberate attempt, and claims the act was stopped some two years ago because of “someone’s Christian beliefs”.
“This is a complete case of Taliban Mentality, complete Taliban…I don’t think that it is an oversight. It is a clear case of religious intolerance. Once you become a President or whichever position you find yourself, you don’t have to impose your religion on others. It should not be tolerated,” he fumed.
Clearly livid, the outspoken Nkrumaist failed to understand why a country which claims to espouse national culture and freedom of worship, is opposed to the pouring of libation at state functions.
Mr Pratt pointed out that if the 1992 Constitution does not only guarantees freedom of worship but enjoins the state to actively integrate the Ghanaian society by avoiding discrimination or prejudices in matters like ethnicity, gender and religion, then no one has any right to condemn or ‘ban’ the manifestations of the beliefs of other sects, let alone prescribe their proscription.
“Ghana is a secular state and so we want to see libation being poured. Libation pouring is part of our national heritage. How can you promote culture, leaving out libation?” he asked rather furiously.
Article 21 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution states that ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practice.’ What is more, under the Directive Principles of State Policy in our Constitution, specifically in Article 35 (5), it is stated that “The State shall actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudices on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.’
Meanwhile, Vice-President of the Ga-Dangbe Youth Association, Nii Maama Marquaye has expressed their unhappiness with government for what they say was a deliberate exclusion of traditional prayers on Sunday.
Nii Marquaye is worried that the traditional rites are gradually being eliminated from the country’s history. “Not every Ghanaian is a Christian or Muslim, some of us are strong traditionalists hence our religious values have to be represented at state functions,” he told Citi FM in an interview.
He argued that countries like Japan, China and the Korean Republic have developed and progressed because they have never neglected or let go of their tradition.