Ghanaians were surprised this week when the government announced that it intends to pull down some official state buildings including judges bungalows at Ridge roundabout to make way for the construction of a 5000 capacity cathedral.
The announcement as expected did not go down well with most Ghanaians and civil societies who thought the project was unnecessary and showed lack of focus on the part of the government especially at a time where people are calling for some Christian activities to be regulated.
The Christian Council later came out to clarify that the cathedral was not going to be sponsored by the government but rather the Christian Council itself and the government was only facilitating the land for them.
Still many thought it was unnecessary to pull down government offices, judges’ bungalows at such a prime area and give it to the Christian Council to construct a Cathedral.
Some reasons may have necessitated this decision by the President to evict judges and hand over that area to the Christian Council to put up a national cathedral. In this article we look at some of the reasons why Akufo Addo amidst all the criticism is still bent on demolition properties at the Ridge roundabout to make way for the construction of the National cathedral.
To Avert Criticism by Men of God in Ghana
During the reign of former president John D. Mahama, religious figures such as Pastor Mensah Otabil, the Christian Council etc weren’t afraid to lash out at Mahama when scandals popped up or things weren’t going well. Senior figures such as former Methodist head, Prof. Martey even went to the extent of criticizing Mahama’s administration on the pulpit, especially on issues bothering on corruption. Two years down the line in Nana Addo’s administration not much has changed, the corruption still wages on unimpeded, scandals upon scandals keep rocking the government. It looks as if his mercy period is over and it’s only a matter of time before leading religious figures and pastors in Ghana descend heavily on him just like they did to Mahama. Nana Akufo Addo may have foreseen this and in other to prevent such criticism from the pastors, he thought it wise to help them construct a national cathedral which he believes will put him in the good books of the pastors and avert such criticism. Several meetings by the presidency with the ‘Men of God’ tightens the bond between the christian community and government which mutes them from criticizing the government.
Taxing the church
About three days ago, the president held a breakfast meeting with some of the leading men of God in Ghana and announced to them of Government’s plan to tax the church. Surprisingly the pastors did not oppose but agreed to pay the tax to help develop the country. This was revealed by Deputy Communication minister, Mr. Pius Hadzide in an interview on Peace FM evening news. According to the deputy minister, the pastors said that development of the nation was all part of the Church’s mission and what the ‘Lord’ wishes for his nations and as such if they had to pay tax to support the development agenda then they wholly embrace it. The decision to tax the church coincidentally clashes with the same period Nana Addo wants to help Christian Council construct a national cathedral. It looked more like the president trying to do something to please the leading men of God and Christian community in Ghana after the decision to tax them. The National Cathedral may be a way of appeasing and compensating the bishops and pastors for the tax collection policy introduced.
Leave a Legacy
Former President, John A. Kuffour built the Jubilee House, President Mahama is credited with the modern Circle Interchange. Nana Akufo Addo certainly does not want to exit the presidency without any legacy to point out in terms of infrastructure and edifice in the capital. For a 5000-capacity cathedral, it is sure to be a monumental structure in the capital capable of hosting national events among others. The one who would be remembered for the major tourist attraction is President Akufo Addo. With just over two years left before we go to the polls again, Nana Addo may see this National Cathedral as a way of leaving a legacy should he be booted out of power.
Win the support of Christians in Ghana
According to statistics, 75% of Ghanaians are Christians while the rest are either Muslims or traditionalists. The support of the Christian community may automatically mean having the support of the majority of Ghanaians. What better way to get that support than helping construct a 5000-seater sacred worship place for Christians in Ghana. While the criticism has been strong, Nana Addo has been able to win the support of staunch Christians who believe he is doing the right thing. With 2020 just around the corner, Nana Addo may have won himself thousands more admirers and in elections every vote counts. As is usual with Ghana, the criticism will fade away in just a couple of weeks and no one will talk about it again but those staunch Christians he has been able to win over with this project are very much unlikely to forget and they will play a crucial role come election 2020.