Opoku-Mensah: Nothing fishy about National Cathedral

The government has come under criticism recently, following reports that it has released GHC25 million by way of additional seed capital to build the cathedral

Paul Opoku-Mensah, the executive director of the National Cathedral of Ghana, has advised individuals who suspect any fishy deal in connection with the construction of the cathedral to go to court.

The government has come under criticism recently, following reports that it has released GHC25 million by way of additional seed capital to build the cathedral.

Advocates of the project say it will attract tourists with an interest in the history and culture of religion to Ghana.

“Why do we subject this nation to all these tension when these are procedural issues,” Opoku-Mensah asked, speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (20 June 2022). “That is part of the reasons why I wrote the seven-page thesis [a press release by Dr Opoku-Mensah issued on 16 June].

“It was really to say could we almost hold fire, can we stop, because the issues we are fighting about are procedural issues?

“For instance, you talk about architects and percentages … if you think there is some criminality, why don’t we call for a review?

“Why do we subject the nation, year after year for four years, to this intense build-up? Let’s now begin to have a rational conversation on the National Cathedral,” Opoku-Mensah said.

Watch the full interview in the video clip attached below:

Stop the National Cathedral

Meanwhile, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the opposition MP for North Tongu, has suggested to President Akufo-Addo that he consider calling a halt to the National Cathedral project.

The MP argues that much wealthier economies took longer to build similar projects than the four-year time frame that Ghana has set itself.

“Proverbs 21:3 — ‘Doing what is right and fair pleases the Lord more than an offering.’ We pray President Akufo-Addo ponders over this scripture and stops all his ungodly and unconstitutional actions in the name of a National Cathedral offering unto God. Expect more leaks this week,” Okudzeto Ablakwa posted on Facebook.

“Much wealthier economies took a longer period to construct their flagship cathedrals so other critical sectors do not suffer unduly. Washington NC: 82 years Milan Cath: 579 years London St Paul’s: 35 years Cologne Cath: 74 years ‘Super Rich’ Ghana, despite the current excruciating economic crisis, is doing four years (2020-2024). All hail the world’s Show Boy, Addo D,” he wrote.

Features of the cathedral

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, accompanied by senior members of the clergy, laid the foundation stone for the National Cathedral on 5 March 2020 to signal the start of building work. A secretariat has since been set up to raise funds from individuals and the private sector for the building of the cathedral, as work on site proceeds.

The cathedral will house a series of impressive chapels, a baptistry, a two-level 5,000-seater auditorium, a grand central hall, a music school, choir rehearsal space, an art gallery, a shop, a café and multi-use spaces. It will also be home to Africa’s first Bible Museum and Documentation Centre, dedicated to Christianity and nation-building in Ghana.

A new ceremonial route and landscape will link the cathedral site to some of Accra’s most prominent landmarks – Independence Square, Osu Cemetery, State House and Africa Unity Circle.

Fred Dzakpata

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