Be vigilant over infringement of rights, liberties–Kofi Abotsi

Ernest Kofi Abotsi, the immediate past Dean of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, has attributed the infringement of rights to the inability of the citizenry to test the laws in the various courts.

He explained that even though by the 1992 constitution, the citizenry had freedoms, liberties and rights to believe in any religion and start-up churches and mosques in all parts of the country, some religions and leaders are still infringing upon rights, freedoms and liberties of other religions and individuals.

“Testing the laws on the infringement of others, in Ghana is equated to an attack on God and although the citizenry has freedom of worship in the 1992 constitution, some challenges are yet to be surmounted,” Mr Abotsi said and gave an example of “Traditional authorities placing a ban on drumming and noise-making at certain times of the year as imposing their religion on other religions”.

He was speaking at a three-day lecture on ‘The Rule of Law and the Freedom of Worship in Ghana’, at the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church as part of the 44th anniversary of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship in the church.

Mr Abotsi indicated that “you have the right to worship, but it should not give you right to traumatise others because it is wrong for somebody to use his or her pulpit to prophesise somebody’s death, but we often do not test the laws, so they are left off the hook to carry out provocative and scary threats in society”.

He denounced the use of the name of God to extort, abuse rights of individuals, especially in some churches where congregants are compelled to pay certain amounts of money without complaining, and some men of God touched private parts, caning out the devil, asking congregants to carry out other unorthodox activities of exorcism.

“For sake of peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness, the citizenry had over the years ignored some sensitive activities that infringe upon their liberties and rights although there is freedom of worship, restrictive for churches established at residential areas and closer to educational institutions.

“Current scary prophecies some men of God are churning out with threats of death on private and public officials are an infringement on their rights, liberties and freedoms,” Mr Abotsi alluded. –GNA

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