Kabila Tightens Case Over National Cathedral
The Supreme Court has given lawyers of James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr. three days to amend their writ in the case in which their client is challenging the construction of the National Cathedral.
The court per the ruling has given lawyers of Mr. Bomfeh who is also the Director of Elections for the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the red light to file an amended copy of the writ at the registry of the court for hearing to commence.
It is however, unclear which portions of the case the lawyers of the plaintiff seek to amend.
The seven-member panel of Justices presided over by Justice Sophia Adenyira also ordered the parties to file their legal arguments simultaneously and adjourned hearing of the substantive matter to November 21.
The orders follow the disclosure by Aziz Bamba, lawyer for Mr. Bomfeh aka Kabila that he had filed an application to amend their writ.
Godfred Yeboah Dame, Deputy Attorney General said the he has been served a copy of the amended writ and does not have the intention to oppose it.
The Plaintiff, suing the President through the Attorney General, is invoking the original jurisdiction of the court to declare that it is wrong for organs of State to be excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice.
The President recently cut sod for the building of the cathedral on the premises of the Scholarship Secretariat, near the State House in Accra; and it is expected to serve as the venue for formal occasions of State and other national events, as well as an interdenominational worship center.
President Akufo-Addo is reported to have said that the building “is a gesture of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the blessings He has showered and continues to shower on our nation.”
It is a legacy project in commemoration of Ghana’s 60thindependence anniversary.
Prior to the sod cutting ceremony, Nana Akufo-Addo had also appointed Sheik I.C. Quaye, a former Greater Accra Regional Minister, as head of an 11-member Hajj Board to oversee the organization of the annual Hajj.
But Mr. Bomfeh, who is also the spokesperson for Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, presidential candidate for the CPP in the 2016 elections, is challenging the legality of the project.
Kabila, who claims through his lawyers – led by Abdul Baasit Aziz Bamba – that he is bringing the action in his capacity as a citizen of the country, wants the apex court to declare that the government cannot embark on the project.
“A declaration that by the core values, basic structures and the nature of the 1992 Constitution and upon a combined and contextual interpretation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, particularly Articles 21(b)(c), 35(1)(5)(6)(a), (37)(1) and or 56, it is unconstitutional for Ghana through its organs of government, ministries, agencies, departments and/or authorized representatives to purposely aid, endorse, sponsor, support, offer preferential governmental promotion of, and/or be excessively entangled in any religion or religious practice,” the writ indicates.
Mr. Bomfeh, who was once CPP former National Youth Organiser, also seeks a declaration that the setting up of a Hajj Board by the government for the purposes of coordinating, supporting and/or aiding Ghanaian Muslims to embark on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca [Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam] amounts to purposely adding, endorsing, supporting and/or offering preferential governmental promotion of, and/or excessive entanglement of Ghana with a religion or religious practice and thus unconstitutional.
Aside any further orders, Kabila also wants the Supreme Court to declare that the decision by the government to purposely endorse, assist, aid, partly sponsor and/or the construction of a National Cathedral near the State House of Ghana for Christian Interdenominational Church services amounts to an excessive entanglement of the country in religion which is unconstitutional.
By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson