Supreme Court And Mission Schools


I Don’t Trust The Supreme Court On Mission Schools

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
If the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2012 Presidential Election Petition is anything to go by, then, really, I am not holding my breath in hopes of expecting the highest court of the land to render an evenhanded decision on the imperious attempt by a section of the Ghanaian Muslim community to impose its will on the age-old traditions and cultural values of Christian missionary schools (“Let’s Wait for SC’s Decision on Religious Impasse – Mahama” 3/8/15).

President John Dramani Mahama, unlike the rest of us, has the luxury of waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, because the Atuguba-presided presidential election-petition panel contorted justice way out of fashion to deliver him precisely the sort of victory that his vaulting political ambition demanded. Nearly three years later, many a levelheaded and responsible Ghanaian citizen has learned better than to trust the collective judgment of the Supreme Court, where questions bordering on politics and civil rights are concerned. But, of course, I also fully recognize the fact that the Supreme Court is the only constitutionally authorized institution to deal with the issue at hand.

Mr. Nii Lamptey’s suit seeking a definitive interpretation of constitutional stipulations bordering on Ghana’s secular status and the traditional place and role of mission schools, promises to provoke a fiery debate on the Court. In the main, I am especially interested in what the most powerful judges and legal lights of the land have to say on the question of the legality of the establishment of faith-based academies in the country, in particular whether non-affiliates of these faith-based institutions, by virtue of their acceptance into these institutions, have an inalienable right to attempt to either alter the established cultures of these institutions, or the inviolable right to pick and choose what aspects of the cultures of these institutions to respect or disregard.

While the raging impasse between some Ghanaian Muslims and the heads of some Christian missionary academies may be aptly deemed to be purely local and national, nevertheless, the oblique impact of the violent activities of such Islamist terrorist organizations as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Taliban, and ISIS/ISIL on these increasingly radicalized Ghanaian Muslim students cannot be ignored. Likewise, the increasingly radical resolve of the authorities of concerned Christian missionary academies may well have a lot to do with the perceived threat, real or illusive, that radical Islam around the globe poses against the survival and integrity of both Christianity and Christian missionary education.

Well, maybe it would interest Mr. Nii Lamptey to appreciate the fact that if Ghanaian Christian missionary schools are receiving relatively more resources from the State or central government, it is primarily because these mission schools have educated more Ghanaian citizens and continue to educate more Ghanaian citizens than all the so-called minority religious schools combined. Even more significant ought to be pointed out that the fact of Ghana’s official self-identification as a “Secular State” does not in any way preclude the vast majority of Ghanaian citizens from identifying themselves as non-secular citizens of the secular state. The hope here is that the Supreme Court decision would come down on the side of justice and the collectively unfettered liberty and integrity of the individual Ghanaian citizen, in neo-liberal Danquahist parlance.

Source: By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York

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