Suit against National Cathedral construction dismissed by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision dismissed a case challenging the construction of a National Cathedral in Ghana.

According to the apex court, the construction of the monumental edifice is in tune with the social and political objectives of the Constitution of Ghana.

The court also said the government’s support does not constitute discrimination against other religious or non-religious groups.

The unanimous decision also held that the case raises no issues of interpretation and enforcement of the constitution.

“This applies to the state’s support for Hajj, Muslims annual pilgrimage to Mecca…” Joy News’ Joseph Ackah-Blay reported.

A leading member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), James Kwabena Bomfeh had dragged the state the Supreme Court, arguing that government’s involvement in the constraction of the cathedral was “a subtle attempt to make Ghana a particular religious state which our constitution frowns on.”

“…I am a Christian but I disagree,” he told Joy News.

He argued that Ghana is a secular state and it was, therefore, wrong for the state to be “excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice.”

But responding to his argument, Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, said a country that has for many years observed principal religious celebrations as public holidays cannot be said to be one that does not recognise the existence of a Supreme Being of God.

What did the court say?

The panel comprising of Justices: Adinyira, Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, Gbadegbe, Akoto-Bamfo, A. Benin, and Marful Sau ruled that the case filed raises no legitimate issue requiring enforcement and interpretation of Ghana’s constitution. 

On the question of whether the state was excessively entangled in religious activities, the court held that nothing prohibits the government from lending such support.

Reaction

In their post court interaction with Joy News, both parties welcomed the ruling of the court.

Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame noted that the ruling has green-lighted the project and the processes will continue to make sure the cathedral sees the light of day.

Lawyer for Mr. Bomfeh,  Abdul Baasit Bamba said the ruling is good for the people of Ghana because for the first time, the Supreme Court has come out to define the relationship between Ghana as a secular state and religion.

Joyonline