General News of Monday, 13 March 2017
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, has been dragged before the Supreme Court by a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), James Kwabena Bomfeh, over government’s decision to build a national cathedral.
According to Mr Bomfeh, government must not be engaged in religious affairs within the country and, therefore, it’s assistance to Muslim pilgrims through the Hajj Board must be declared unconstitutional and illegal.
In his writ, he is seeking “a declaration that the decision of the Government of Ghana to purposely endorse, assist, aid, partly sponsor, and/or support the construction of a National Cathedral near the State House of Ghana, for Christian interdenominational church services amounts to an excessive entanglement of the Republic of Ghana and religion and therefore unconstitutional”.
He is also seeking, “a declaration that the setting up of a Hajj Board by the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the purpose of coordinating, supporting and/or aiding Ghanaian Muslims to embark on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca”, is unconstitutional.
President Akufo-Addo recently cut the sod for the construction of a national non-denominational Christian worship centre.
The activity was to mark the 60th Anniversary of the country.
According to Akufo-Addo, the lack of such infrastructure in the country prompted him to take the initiative which, he said, will serve a very important purpose for the Christian community in the country.
Some Ghanaians have raised concerns over the president’s decision to undertake the project which will be funded by the Christian community in the country.
They say government must not be seen to be bothering itself over religious activities and projects but concentrate on its secular mandate of political governance for which it was elected to office.
These complaints have, however, not deterred the government from carrying out some religion-based activities, including facilitating the pilgrimage of Muslim’s in Ghana to Mecca in South Arabia.
‘What does the Hajj Board do?’
The National Hajj Board is an organisation operating under the office of the President mandated to manage Hajj affairs and related pilgrimages undertaken by Muslims of Ghana. They receive monies from pilgrims and facilitate their air travel, and stay in Mecca throughout the pilgrimage period.
‘National mosque under construction’
The government has partnered with the Turkish government to construct a national mosque at Kawukudi in Accra. The project started in 1995 with an initial amount of $10 million dollars from the Turkish Government; however, due to other ancillary facilities that were added later to the design, the cost exceeded the initial projection hence additional funding had to be secured to complete it.