This article is a week and a few days late.
On November 18, 2018, MyNewsGh.com reported that the government had begun demolishing bungalows housing Court of Appeal Judges to make way for the construction of a National Cathedral.
The evicted judges, it is said, had been given a US$168,000 (GHC800,000.00) for temporary accommodation.
It is strange that a committee made up of some of the most respected in the land, convinced themselves that to build a national cathedral, there was wisdom in demolishing 10 bungalows, each consisting of six-bedrooms, built only four years ago by the Judicial Service.
The information is that within 18 months, permanent structures will be constructed for them. What a rich country!
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Also to be pulled down are all the buildings from the Ridge Circle to the Scholarship Secretariat, the Judicial Training Institute at East Ridge and the Passport Office — just because the committee has decided that the National Cathedral must be built “in a strategic place, something that befits this country.”
Eiiiii!!! I nearly laughed, were it not for the collective wisdom of these respectable men and women.
What a rich country - to pull down bungalows built only four years ago only to turn round to grit our teeth and pour condemnation upon governments whenever TV3 and GTV put their cameras on children inhaling dust in classrooms as they lie on their bellies on bare earth to recite “A…B…C…” or write on their slates; a country which finds the money for V8s and Land Cruisers for 275 MPs when the rest of the population share 55 ambulances!
I am not against the building of the national cathedral. I am a Christian, so I love cathedrals. But I also know that the place of worship is not what guarantees where your soul goes after death. King Solomon built a national cathedral to the glory of God, but his name is not mentioned among the men and women of faith in Chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews.
Didn’t Paul warn us in First Corinthians Chapter 13 that “it profits nothing” (meaning, we could miss heaven) if “we speak with the tongues of angels”, prophesy, “understand all mysteries, have the faith to move mountains, bestow our goods to feed the poor, give up our bodies to be burnt” but if, at the time of doing all of above, we “have not charity”?
I am not saying that our President and all those advocating the building of a national cathedral have no “charity”; in fact, knowing what monuments can do to a nation’s economy and the aesthetics of its skyline, I support the building of the cathedral.
I was in Washington recently and saw the National Museum of African American History and Culture, so beautiful it won the “Design of the year 2017”.
That project attracts so many tourists that one needs to have booked in advance to make it into the serpentine daily queues.
I made conversation with everybody who would listen to me, informing them that this piece of architectural wonder was the brainchild of David Adjaye, the most celebrated Black architect in the world, knighted by the Queen of England and listed in ‘Time’ magazine’s 100 most influential people; that the David Adjaye is a citizen of my country, Ghana.
I also know that the cathedral would pay for itself in no time.
I can foresee events such as ‘Greater Works’ and ‘Destiny Summit (ICGC), ‘Iron Sharpeneth Iron’ and ‘Homecoming (Lighthouse), and the other conventions, plus Adom Praise and others by Harvest Chapel International, all relocating to the National Cathedral.
No need to go hire over-decorated chairs, sound systems, etc.
So, you see, I am not against the building of a national cathedral. What I am against is the siting.
Worse, I can never understand why a poor country should pull down bungalows and other structures built at the real cost of a thousand school buildings, potable water for thousands (nay, millions), who drink muddy water; hospitals and consumables needed to dress wounds, take temperature and provide hospital beds.
Remember, for lack of one bed, a man died after being turned away from seven hospitals.
When Rawlings made his coup in December 1981, one of the reasons he gave was that Korle Bu had become a transit camp to the cemetery. I don’t know where any of the committee members go in times of sickness, but Korle Bu, Komfo Anokye and Effia Nkwanta are still transit camps.
Is it too late to change our minds? Can’t we site it on the Aburi Hills, with all its serenity, all its pristine cool temperate morning weather! Another advantage with Aburi (or any location outside mainland Accra) is decongestion of the capital.
We don’t seem to be a people who learn anything.
The Lagos go-slow has taught us nothing.
If we still want it in mainland Accra, here are two suggestions by a friend: one, the area around the former seat of government which used to house the Castle Clinic; two incorporate the Cathedral into the upcoming Marine Drive.
By the way, have we done traffic impact assessment? Remember Lagos.