TUC: National Cathedral is not priority

Dr.Yaw Baah, TUC boss

Dr.Yaw Baah, TUC boss

THE Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ghana has joined the fray to reject the proposed National Cathedral saying “we cannot sit on the fence for a cathedral to become a priority among priorities in Ghana.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo responding to questions at the 5th Financial Times Africa Summit in London last Monday mounted a defence of the decision to construct a national cathedral.

Labelling the decision to construct the cathedral as “a priority among priorities”, President Akufo-Addo said with Christians constituting 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population, the cathedral would be a rallying point for strengthening unity among Ghanaians.

But the TUC in a statement issued in Accra and copied the Ghanaian Times said “we do not believe that we need a special national cathedral to serve as a rallying point to strengthen unity among the people of Ghana.”

According to the statement signed by the Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, “the construction of a cathedral for only Christians may even divide us further because there are many other religions in Ghana.

“Christians may constitute the majority of the population but that does not make Christianity a national religion and it should not be seen as more important than the other religions.”

A national cathedral for Christians, the statement said, regardless of their share of the population, should never find space on the list of priorities for Ghana.

The TUC said if the cathedral was to the glorification of God, the book of Acts 7:48-49 in the Holy Bible states that: “The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?  Has not my hand made all these things?”

Underscoring the need for the idea of a national cathedral to be shelved and the money meant for it channelled somewhere else; the TUC said there were many socio-economic challenges facing the country which needed attention.

Some of these, the workers’ umbrella body enumerated included, over six million Ghanaians not having  access to clean water; one out of every four Ghanaian child affected by chronic malnutrition and 66 per cent of children and 42 per cent of women of childbearing age suffer from anaemia.

It added that only 15 percent of urban residents and 6 percent of rural residents had access to sanitation facilities; one doctor for 8000 Ghanaians compared to World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one doctor for 5000 people as many children die from malaria and other preventable diseases.

Ghana, it said, had only three psychiatric hospitals and 18 active psychologists, forced to introduce double-track system because of lack of infrastructure as many live in the streets because they had no access to housing among other challenges.

“Why should a national cathedral be a priority among priorities in these circumstances? Why should government use scarce national resources to construct a national cathedral when we have all these social and economic challenges to deal with?” it asked.

The TUC was convinced that if Ghanaians, including Christians, were to be asked individually of their priorities for the country, a national cathedral would “never” feature in the first one thousand items on the list of priorities.

It appealed to President Akufo-Addo to abort the cathedral plan otherwise “we will invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse.”

In the TUC’s view, workplaces, schools, colleges and universities, and all places of worship across the country would be more effective rallying points for strengthening unity among Ghanaians than a national cathedral located in Accra which can be accessed only by the privileged class in society.

The TUC pledged of its unflinching support for government initiatives that seek to address the social and economic challenges facing our country.

BY TIMES REPORTER                                                    

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