In recent times, Ghana’s image as an island of peace and stability has come under threat as a result of frequent disputes and conflicts between adherents of Ga traditional religion and some Christian churches over the annual ban on drumming and noise-making, imposed by the Ga Traditional Council prior to the celebration of the Ga traditional festival of “Homowo” which literally means “to hoot at hunger,” is a harvest festival commemorating a famine in the history of the Ga people.
On the one hand, Ga traditionalists justify the imposition of the ban on the basis that it is a time-honored religious tradition of the Ga people as well as their constitutional right.
They point to the guarantee of customary practices in Ghana under the 1992 Constitution to justify their insistence that the ban must be respected by all residents in Accra. On the other hand, churches resent and challenge the imposition of the ban and justify their “noise-making” on the grounds of their constitutional right of freedom to worship. This article explores the underlying causes of this conflict within the broader framework of horizontal inequalities – that is inequalities between culturally defined groups.
It argues that the sporadic clashes and conflicts between adherents of Ga traditional religion and some Christian churches in Accra is not only about religious or cultural differences per se, but that religion and culture are used as avenues for expressing a deeply rooted feeling of marginalization of the Gas in their own land. Beneath the issue of the ban are profound grievances nurtured over time by the Ga people of Ghana.
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