By Kofi Agyei
It is quite disturbing and saddening the rate at which noise making is on the rise!
Although there is a law that regulates the sound level of every organization which happens to be operating using any sound producing gadget to reach its people, Ghanaians wonder whether the law is defunct, or there is a peculiar reason as to why its application has never seen the light of day!
Here in Ghana, most churches and mosques are built in residential areas. The question is not why they choose to build in the residential areas because the constitution provides for the freedom of worship which can be seen clearly in
Article 21(1) All persons shall have the right to (c) freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.”
Article 26 (1) Every person is entitled to enjoy, practice, profess, maintain and promote any culture, language, tradition or religion subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
However, must it warrant the noise these associations make on a daily basis which is also acting contrary to the same constitution?
Recently, there was an alleged gunshot and teargas incident at Tampe-Kukoo in the Sagnarigu district in the Northern region on Christmas day. The event happened to involve the Deputy Ghana Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a local church around her vicinity called Spring of Life Assemblies of God. The scene as reported does not project the country as one of the countries that understands fully what fundamental rights are which in this case exposes how bad or defunct the system has been over the years. Recent information on this matter which I think has become a public discussion is the alleged gunshot and teargas attack (as a law abiding citizen who believes in justice, I think the law must be made to work on the account of the alleged unlawful gunshot and teargas spraying which occurred in the process). The substantive issue to be explained is, what caused this uproar? Simply….. noise!
When you walk through the principal streets of Accra, preacher men/women have mounted speakers and are making noise in the name of preaching which is a daily activity! Those in audio and video shops and pubs do the same. One may ask if some people’s parochial interests to make a living are above the supreme constitution of the country?
The noise pollution in the country is worsening. Too much noise can be very distressing and it affects people’s quality of life. It has the tendency to cause damage to the sense of hearing with age if it continues in such a manner. The noise produced from religious institutions grows worse on Sundays and Fridays, which makes individuals who do not partake in these activities find it difficult to find peace in their own homes.
The country has come too far to allow simple rules and regulations of how organizations, such as churches and mosques must engage, to become a grey area. There are a lot of incidents of such nature which have been happening quite often but not all get the attention of the media. Most of us face it daily at our various homes and neighbourhoods.
As a citizen of this country, I want to question the authorities as to the reason why the system to enforce regulation of noise making and the payment of fines which has been made clear in the codes to regulate noise making is not working?
I want to entreat all social communicators and all citizens to take up this menace of excessive noise-making as a national discussion and treat it with all the urgency it requires and discuss it dispassionately regardless of religious affiliation, culture, tradition and political leaning and see it as a threat to peace.
To the agencies which are mandated to make the law work by enforcing it, I also urge you all to act as the law demands you to do to prevent future occurrences. I believe in Ghana, and I believe in our justice system.