Policies must make lives better not bitter

A news report by The Ghana Report dated July 27, 2023, stated how two persons lost their lives after a patrol speed boat rammed into their canoe.

The two were among twelve persons who were on a fishing expedition to herald the celebration of the “Hɔmɔwɔ” festival.

In the Ga state, farming, fishing, hunting and blacksmithing to some extent were the predominant occupation of the inhabitants.

Currently, fishing continues to be the preoccupation of the people.

Hɔmɔwɔ is a harvest festival which was celebrated to signify a bumper harvest after a long period of famine in the Ga land.
Hɔmɔwɔ was coined from two Ga words; hɔmɔ and wɔ. Hɔmɔwɔ means hooting at hunger.
‘Kpokpoi’ and palm nut soup with ‘tsile’ is the food used to mark the celebration.
‘Tsile’ is a kind of fish used specifically for the Hɔmɔwɔ festival.

Hɔmɔwɔ and closed fishing season
It is widely known that the Gas celebrate the Hɔmɔwɔ in August every year.
Aside from corn, palm nut and okro, “tsile” is an important ingredient used in the preparation of palm nut soup which is eaten with “kpokpoi” as meal during the festival.
About three years ago, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture introduced a policy of closed fishing season.
During the period…….(add number of weeks), fishermen are to halt fishing and stay offshore till the ban is lifted.
The reason for the ban is to repopulate fishes in the sea.
I don’t want to delve into the subject of the ban distorting the livelihood of families whose lives depend on a ‘catch’.
Before festivals like Hɔmɔwɔ, some fishing activities (Ŋshɔbulemɔ) are carried out.

The incident which has led to the loss of lives of the two could have been averted if the timing of the ban was appropriate.
The ban could have come into force after cultural and ritual activities to climax the Homowo celebration.

The death
The report indicated that the canoe with the inscription; “Adesa Na Ohetsui’ meaning (man, be patient), was ‘rammed by a patrol speed boat at the anchorage of the Tema Port’.
Was the crash necessary? I ask myself.

No. I say no because the 12 people on the canoe could have been arrested by the patrol team, questioned and taken to the Tema Traditional Council to ascertain if they were aware of the expedition authorised by the council.

This unfortunate incident demonstrates the need to always collaborate with traditional authorities in local communities before the implementation of policies which ultimately affect their livelihoods.

By this, I suggest that the closed season policy be revised because policies must make lives better not bitter.

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