North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called for sanctions against persons who breached Covid-19 safety protocols at the funeral of the former CEO of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John.

Speaking Monday, on JoyFM‘s Super Morning Show, he said state officials who were present at the funeral must not be let off the hook because they are government officials.

“Let’s not continue to create the impression that we operate some apartheid, animal farm system in this country where those in authority do whatever they want and get away with it and everybody else is supposed to be law-abiding, if they do not, they are made to face the consequences,” he said.

Dr. Mahmud Bawumia @ Sir John One Week

His comment follows the gross disregard of Covid-19 safety protocols at Sir John’s funeral last week.

The funeral, held at Sakora-Wonoo in the Kwabre-East District of the Ashanti Region, saw a mass gathering of mourners including President Akufo-Addo; his vice Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah among other government officials.

During the event, a majority of the mourners defied the laid-down safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing.  

Sir John's funeral: We can't continue to operate apartheid regime in implementing Covid protocols - Ablakwa
Scene from Sir John’s funeral

Since then, many concerned citizens, opinion leaders, and professional bodies, including the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), have expressed displeasure about the breach of the safety protocols.

In response to the concerns raised, Presidential advisor on Health, Dr Nsiah Asare, on Sunday, June 13, 2021, clarified matters on JoyNews’ The Probe.

He explained that there was a breach of protocols despite directives given due to the large numbers that turned up at the funeral.

But Mr Ablakwa, who expressed worry that the incident may trigger a third wave of the virus insists there is no justification for the conduct.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on the deaths of teens in Apam
Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

In his view, a President who sanctioned a deputy Minister of state for a similar offense during the Voter Registration exercise in 2020 should not be pardoned for the act.

“It’s totally wrong and unacceptable. How can a President who sanctioned a deputy Minister for Trade and Member of Parliament for Tema East, Carlos Ahenkora, and said that he expects his appointees to set good examples, go and engage in this conduct?”

He emphasised that the said officials must be dealt with in the same manner any Ghanaian would be dealt with for breaching the protocols regarding the ‘Rule of Law’ practiced in the country.

Sir John's funeral: We can't continue to operate apartheid regime in implementing Covid protocols - Ablakwa

“We were all in this country when we condemned what folks at the Christ Embassy youth event did. The police moved in and invited culprits for violating the Covid-19 protocols, so why is it that when it comes to the funeral of prominent politicians, you see this blatant violation?”

“We know our history in this country; it was a similar attitude that led to the second wave in January, February. So do we want the third wave that experts are telling us that is so deadly?

He further stated that the Minority in Parliament is preparing to haul the Health Minister and demand answers.