Ghana: African Traditional Religion Practitioners Plead for Public Holiday

A coalition of African traditional religion practitioners in the country, has called on government to institute a public holiday in honour of the faith, just as has been done to Christians and Muslims.

According to the group, led by New Gavriel Enlightenment Traditional Church, traditional religion deserves such consideration since it was recognised by the 1992 Constitution.

Article 21(a) and (c) of the 1992 Constitution provides respectively that "all persons shall have the right to: freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom and [the] freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice".

This according to the founder and leader of the Church, Torgbui Anaglasi required the state to give equal recognition to all faiths including traditional religion.

Torgbui Anaglasi, made the appeal at a press briefing held at Somanya in the Eastern Region on Wednesday.

He explained that on July 9 and 10 every year, deities all over the world embarked on a journey to the spiritual realm to account for their deed to the Supreme Being as a result; it would be the ideal period for the practitioners to showcase their deities.

"Deities all the over the world embark on a journey to the spiritual realm to render accounts to the Supreme Being upon which they are further fortified to continue saving human lives as such must be celebrated after a successful journey" he added.

The day, he explained if instituted, would bring practitioners together to impact the new generation the true importance of traditional practices and customs, which are sacred and devoid of criminal activities.

Torgbui Anaglasi expressed regret that some practitioners or fetish priests were engaging in acts that dragged the name of the religion into disrepute.

He said "no true practitioner or fetish priest must shed or pour human blood; this cannot be accepted as true practice of tradition. As fetish priests we are to heal with herbs and spirit and to protect lives, not to take lives."

Torgbui Anaglasi advised practitioners not to consider money more than human life, and urged them to help expose those destroying the noble and humble practice of the religion.

He advocated stiffer punishment for people engaging in criminal activities in the name of the African traditional religion, and appealed to the public to "refrain from lumping all traditional practices as evil and also stop casting a slur on their families as they may end up accusing the wrong people ."

He stressed "we have the Atigali, Nana Tongo, Kpakpaklidi, Azor, Kwaku, Alafia, Brekudi and many more with each knowing how to practice and worship, and do not kill human beings",

Torgbui Anaglasi cautioned the public against the get rich quick attitude in order not to fall prey to swindlers and magicians who parade as fetish priests.

He urged the National Communication Authority to promulgate a law to ban money doubling scenes being displayed on television stations adding "We are calling on managers and owners of media houses not to allow money to rule their conscience but be guided by patriotism, love for fellow human and most likely the vulnerable," he added.

Torgbui Anaglasi said a team would be dispatched to Kyebi to plead with the Over Lord of the Akyem Traditional Area, Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, to reconsider his decision to close down all shrines under his jurisdiction.

He, however, said "the Okyehene is right in taking that decision, but we have to plead for him to temper justice with mercy because he may or would end up throwing all of us including the good ones away".

More From: Ghanaian Times

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