General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Former Deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Ofosu Kwakye, has accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of deliberately appealing to the emotions of Christians and other people he describes as “religious fundamentalists” for votes, with the construction of the National Cathedral.
According to him, the decision to build the national cathedral is a waste of resources, as the funds to be provided by government could be used in improving the infrastructural deficit of the country.
He explained that there are some already existing churches in the country with huge sitting capacities to cater for whatever event government intends to host.
“With the greatest respect to the President, I don’t think a Cathedral is the most important thing in our lives at this time. We have many churches in the country with some of the most fantastic auditoriums. The Church of Pentecost has this huge auditorium somewhere in Kasoa, and that is where we held our Youth and Women’s conference. There is no church service that you cannot hold there, there is also the lighthouse.”
Speaking on Citi TV’s Breakfast Daily show, Mr. Ofosu Kwakye opined that, government could rather channel state funds towards building roads, hospitals and schools.
He also claimed that he has’ read in several news items’ that the proposed National Cathedral would cost the state in the region of $100m.
“At the heart of all this, is an attempt by the President of the country to appeal to the religious fundamentalists as a way of getting votes at the elections so that people are not thinking rationally about the matter, but rather they make emotional and fundamentalist arguments. What is it that this country stands to benefit from the National Cathedral ?” he queried.
Contrary to earlier claims by government that it was not going to fund or spend taxpayers’ money on the construction of the National Cathedral, it has now emerged that the state will provide the seed money for the project.
Gov’t to provide seed money for National Cathedral
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, whiles delivering the 2019 budget statement in Parliament last week, disclosed that government is among other things providing the seed capital for the construction.
He, however, failed to mention how much government will commit as seed money to the project.
“The state is facilitating this process by providing the land, the Secretariat, and seed money for the preparatory phase.”
“This National Cathedral partnership framework operationalizes, and indeed is a practical expression, of the social partnership envisaged to foster the participatory development of the country as our collective goal,” he added.
Gov’t to launch fundraiser for National Cathedral
Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta also during the 2019 budget presentation revealed that Government also intends to hold a fundraiser to enable it to accumulate more money for the construction of the National Cathedral.
The move, according to government is to take away any toll the project will have on the country’s finances.
The fundraisers will be organized in Ghana and the United States of America in December 2018 and February 2019 respectively.
“The President is determined that the building of the National Cathedral would not put undue financial burdens on the state. He has therefore proposed a partnership between the State and the Ghanaian Christian community both at home and in the Diaspora”.
“The formal launch of this national fundraising campaign is slated for December 28, 2018, in Ghana, and February 2019 in the United States, he stated.
National Cathedral misplaced priority, we’ll campaign against it – TUC
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has described the government’s plan to construct a National Cathedral as a misplaced priority.
It has also vowed to rally the support of Ghanaians to campaign against the construction of the cathedral.
“We would like to appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to shelve this plan otherwise we will invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse,” TUC said,
In a statement copied to citinewsroom.com, it indicated that it will continue to support initiatives of the government that seeks to enhance social and economic development but cannot support the construction of a national cathedral.