The Chairman of the Kumasi Council of Christian Churches, Archbishop Yinkah Sarfo Kantanka has made a strong defense for the construction of the National Cathedral with state funds.
The Cathedral has come under criticism from a section of the public who have questioned its relevance, and the state’s participation in its construction.
But addressing a press conference in Kumasi on Thursday Arch Bishop Yinka Sarfo said the “seed money contributed by the State is less than 10 percent of the total cost” adding: “The bulk contribution so far is from Christians, the Church in Ghana and from the Diaspora.”
Seventy (70%) of the Ghanaian population are Christians. Our tax has been used to construct the National Theater, National Stadia, Why not the National Cathedral”, he quizzed.
The clergyman also expressed worry over an attempt by some individuals to polarise the country to destroy the idea of the building of the Cathedral is worrying.
“I always get sad and weep over the politicization of the construction of the National Cathedral of Ghana. Is it a blessing or a curse to build a National Cathedral? The irony of it is the fact that the Muslims are supporting it. It is rather people who call themselves Christians who are at the forefront kicking against it” he said.
Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, Reverend Victor Kusi Boateng, also said the board members are determined in constructing the National Cathedral in spite of the odds.
He has consequently refuted reports that some members of the board have resigned.
“No National Cathedral [board] member has resigned or is ready to resign. We are even stronger now and resolute that this cathedral will be built at all cost,” he stated at the media encounter.
According to Rev. Boateng, the Board of Trustees has been transparent in its dealings and oversight, explaining that the General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil, declined to join the board when he was approached.
He said Pastor Otabil was appointed as part of the 13-member Board of Trustees, but he indicated to the board that he would not be able to give the needed attention to the project.
He, therefore, would not want to be registered as a director of the company, the Board Secretary explained further.
“We were not ashamed. We came publicly to say it. We should have taken his name from our website, but we were so much into so many things,” Rev. Boateng indicated.
“There is not a single cathedral member who has resigned. Even Dr. Mensa Otabil, up till today, is always on the phone with us, encouraging us, bringing suggestions and telling us what should be done,” he posited.
Prophet Boateng appealed to the media to use their platforms to rally support for the project.
The government said the National Cathedral will be a historic project that provides a sacred space and infrastructure for the formal religious activities of the nation, like state funerals and presidential inaugural services.
The National Cathedral Secretariat has also stated that “it is this national character that distinguishes it from the other cathedrals in the country.”
“We are taking the bold vision of the President for a Sacred National infrastructure, linking it to the path-breaking design of iconic Architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, and organically anchoring these in world-class programmes – including Africa’s first Museum of the Bible whose development is supervised by Cary Summers, the founding President of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC,” it said.
The secretariat said they had engaged “the very best of Ghana with the very best in the world.”
“The result of the integration of the vision, design, and programming is an iconic infrastructure that provides a sacred space for the nation, attracts pilgrims and tourists, and includes a built-in economic engine for financial sustainability,” it argues.
Recently, some Ghanaians expressed shock when the Ministry of Finance authorised the release of GH¢25 million to construct the biggest cathedral for the nation.
The amount was to serve as additional seed money to the National Cathedral Secretariat for the construction of the cathedral for part payment of the outstanding claim from RIBADE Limited.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH with additional files from News Agencies