Wesley Girls fasting brouhaha : Uphold the Constitution- Advocates for Christ Ghana to Prez Akufo-Addo
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Wesley Girls fasting brouhaha : Uphold the Constitution- Advocates for Christ Ghana to Prez Akufo-Addo


By Jerry Akornor 

+233 244731951

jerryjohnakornor@yahoo.com


Faith-based organisation Advocates for Christ Ghana has called on President Akufo-Addo and Education Minister Dr. Yaw Osei-Adu Twum to strictly uphold the constitution in resolving Wesley Girls School fasting issue.

This follows Wesley Girls School denial of some Muslim students the rights to fast during the month of Ramadan. The development has received mixed reactions and backlash from many including the National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr. Nuhu Sharubu who expressed disappointment and worry over the maltreatment.



Ramadan is a month where Muslims all over the world observe crucial fasting period in line with Islamic teachings and practices. Spokesperson of National Chief Imam Sheikh Aremeyaw has revealed that the National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr. Nuhu Sharubutu is deeply worried and disappointed over Wesley Girls School and other schools turning away some Muslim students because of their attempts to fast in accordance with their Islamic faith.

National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr. Nuhu Sharubutu 

In a sharp reaction to the development in schools, Spokesperson of National Chief Imam Sheikh Aremeyaw said efforts are being made to identify various schools involved in rejecting fasting Muslim students. 

Speaking on Joynews monitored by ghananewsdesk.com on Friday 30 April 2021, Spokesperson of National Chief Imam Sheikh Aremeyaw said  "Chief Imam is saying that the dignity they accord him should be extended to Muslims students in school even in this fasting period. I must be honest, National Chief Imam is worried and disappointed over Wesley Girls School and others refusing Muslims students because of fasting. We must dialogue with people with different faiths".

According to Advocates for Christ Ghana, stakeholders must be guided by the supreme laws of the land in resolving the matter. 

Mrs. Eyram Bashan, Media Gate Lead of Advocates for Christ Ghana 

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday 27 May 2021 in Accra, Media Gate Lead for Advocates for Christ Ghana Mrs. Eyram Bashan said "We therefore call on the President of our dear Nation H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to continue to uphold the Constitution of Ghana as he has sworn to do". 

Media Gate Lead Mrs. Eyram Bashan has also called on Education Minister Dr. Yaw Osei-Adu Twum not to set a bad precedent by of policy in his attempt to resolve the Wesley Girls School fasting issue.

"We call on the Minister for Education Honourable Dr. Yaw Osei-Adutwum, not to inadvertently attempt setting a policy precedent that would be at variance with the Constitution and that would raise unnecessary religious tensions in the country. We look forward again to the Minister for Education, Honourable Dr. Yaw Osei-Adutwum demonstrating that he will deliver on their 2016 promises and commitments through quickly providing a road map for handing over all mission schools in the short term".

Dr. Yaw Osei-Adu Twum, Education Minister 
interacting with students 




Meanwhile, Mrs. Eyram Bashan has urged practitioners of all faiths to act in consonance with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. "We call on all faiths to respect the tenets of our Constitution, the Ghanaian Constitution and to build and maintain bridges that will continue to propel our nation Ghana forward. God bless you and God bless our homeland Ghana!", she said. 

Catholic Bishop Conference, Ghana  


Below is the press statement issued by Advocates for Christ Ghana : 


PRESS STATEMENT

SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: THE WESLEY GIRLS FASTING BROUHAHA


On Monday, the 24th of May 2021, the Christian Methodist community and other Christian faithful worldwide, celebrated Wesley day. It is recognized as the day the Methodist movement was triggered by the experiences of John Wesley almost 300 years ago. Here in Ghana, the topmost academic performing secondary school, the all-female Methodist Mission School - Wesley Girls’ 

High School, named after this Christian luminary, has recently been in the news for all the wrong 

reasons, other than its sterling academic achievements. This has been a major source of concern for the Christian community in Ghana as it is evident that there is a calculated attempt to create disaffection for the school, its managers as well as Christian leaders in Ghana in general.


In April 2021, the school was oddly accused of discriminating against Muslims with regard to 

fasting. This accusation is not just unusual, but manifestly untrue given various documented key antecedents and known facts which prove that these accusations are baseless and without merit. 


Three (3) key historical facts that underscore the trajectory of the WGHS policy on religious 

practices and activities in general, including fasting are:


1. The Non-Fasting Policy which was instituted by the school board in the 1990s was 

established because of some CHRISTIANS who had been fasting and ended up collapsing, and causing near fatalities as well as traumatizing other students from ever considering or attempting to repeat this or engage in the same. (WGHS Press Release, 

9th May 2021).


2. It is also noteworthy to recount that again soon after the fasting ban in the 1990s, WGHS 

at the time, also severed its formal relationship with Joyful Way Incorporated (JWI) which started in 1972. A long standing and close relationship that had thrived over the years, 

under various headmistresses and that JWI had depended on to minister more regularly 

to girls in the school and to identify youthful members to groom into their fold. Here again 

a Christian groups influence was restrained and religious freedoms or privileges of the students were expressly curtailed by new school rules.


3. Related to this, it is reported that even earlier in the 1983/1984 academic year, WGHS 

decided to ban Scripture Union (SU) activities in the school. As a consequence, the 

Scripture Union of Ghana has no formal representatives or activities in WGHS as you will find in many other Ghanaian second cycle schools. Not just that but again in this instance, CHRISTIANS were the target of a school policy taken to limit religious activity; and they accepted this in the spirit of Article 14(1) (e).


To contextualize these events properly, we need to understand that these policy decisions were not taken by the board, in a vacuum. They were taken with the understanding that for the period of three (3) years that our wards or children will be in school we want them to focus on their academics since that will ultimately serve their supreme interest and help them stand out. Truth be told, this decision has not been without effect; and the current achievements of 

WGHS could not have been achieved without some of the stringent efforts instituted to ensure that young ladies who enter WGHS school, learn to focus on academics from the very first day.


Clearly, maintaining discipline with a strict attention to academic work has been key to WGHS performance and this is not surprising as discipline is known to have a positive influence on both the individual as well as the school environment. This is why every school has rules for its students to achieve targeted goals. Following these rules, which may not and obviously cannot be crafted to suit every individual’s preferences, is extremely important for ensuring a conducive learning environment, removing distractions and maintaining order. 

So here are some of the fundamental issues to be considered and key questions the media 

and general public ought to be asking: 


1. The school board and the church decided that in spite of the fact that they believe wholeheartedly in fasting as a spiritual discipline, however based on past experiences, fasting is evidently neither the paramount nor a major focus for their being in school, consequently, for the three (3) year SHS period, we will not allow our wards to fast or allow any other Christian/religious groups to influence them to fast, whilst in school. 

QUESTION: How does this decision, taken in the 1990s primarily targeted at Christians, and enforced against all students become discrimination against another faith/Muslims in April 2021? 


QUESTION: Where are the documented historical facts and not assumptions, that lead to arriving at the justifiable conclusion that this 1990s WGHS policy was targeted at Muslims? Bearing in mind that this decision has not prevented all the other spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible/Koran reading etc. from continuing in the school.


2. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 2 states “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity 

under the heavens:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to 

uproot. The school management, board and church have stood on scriptures such as this 

and it has served them well. WGHS has achieved regional acclamation in respect of academic laurels consistently and this is what has attracted parents and wards of other faiths to choose the school. 


QUESTION: If as a Christian Parent or Guardian or as a School you recognize that this 

non-fasting formula has worked for all your older children and is therefore is best for your current children as far as academic performance is concerned, would you not in line with Mark 12: 31 “Love your neighbor as yourself” ensure the same academic environment for your neighbor’s child?


QUESTIONS: So really, why should school management and the church be attacked for 

wanting to love children from all faiths equally? or for providing the same conducive learning environment for all of its students without any consideration to ethnic, religious or other differences? Why should the school, its management and the Methodist church be attacked for working to ensure that all students do well academically? How can this be called discrimination? Indeed, would the school not be promoting reverse discrimination if one (1) group of students are allowed to fast, while another is being told you cannot fast? Imagine Traditionalists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Rastafarians, Jehovah Witnesses, Sikhs, Muslims (Ahmadis, Sunnis, Shias) and even other denominations of the church all having permission to observe different religious practices in any school? The adherents of traditional religious beliefs with no shoes on and requiring a place for their animal or other sacrifices, the puberty rites adherents, insisting on being bare chested, the Rastafarians insisting on maintaining dreadlocks, seventh day Adventists insisting on no school activities on Saturday, the Christians insisting on no activities on Sunday etc. the 

end result would definitely undermine the academic focus on campus, and lower 

performance. Since we all know that the No-Fasting Policy is evidently neutral, factually non-discriminatory and aligned with the constitution of Ghana, the real question is what exactly are they trying to achieve by making such false and misleading 

accusations? Only two (2) possible answers are available at the moment:


1. Undermine the academic performance of WGHS or/and

2. Compel Christian schools to become secularized and therefore restrict their 

mission/evangelistic efforts. Whichever of the two, this attempt to unjustifiably interfere in the management and running of Christian mission schools is unacceptable to us and we have noted with great concern that this strategy has been adopted globally by another faith in particular to secularize Christian schools and clamp down on their impact. The fact that the State contributes a financial quota to mission schools, does not whittle away the Christian investments, as well as mission and objectives of these schools. 


Indeed, the state also contributes financially to some non-diversified schools built and dedicated solely to the teaching of a particular religion and a particular language in which 

its holy book is written in - and these learning centres do not accept children of other faiths. 

In any case, our current Government committed in 2016 to hand over the mission schools and we know that the Christian community is poised and able to institute financial models to make schools like WGHS run on their own without any State support. The current 

situation only inures to the benefit of non-Christian mission minded groups and individuals who want to exploit the school and take advantage of its success through protocol lists and also making it secular. So we have some key questions for government and other takeholders:


KEY QUESTIONS FOR GOVERNMENT & OTHER STAKEHOLDERS: 


1. Why would a coach, with a winning formula, that has never failed, for winning matches, 

suddenly be attacked about his or her formula and be asked to change the formula? When there is no data or analysis showing that changing the formula will promote or contribute to improving the performance of team members or achieving the main goal of the team?


2. Is it that as a society we have now concluded that our senior religious leaders, have 

nothing to offer, and we believe that they would arbitrarily take decisions, in spite of their calling, and so we do not think that it is necessary to do any background 

investigation before discrediting them, the school and the church at large? 


3. Is it right for the spokespersons of one (1) faith to vociferously call another faith group 

“intolerant” and “bigots” when they have refused to research, listen to and acknowledge the facts and are therefore peddling mis-truths? is this not a calculated 

attempt to undermine the peace and stability of our nation, while assuming that Christians will not highlight the obvious dis-connect between their dangerous religious advocacy and the actual historical and operational level facts? 


4. Is it fair, right or appropriate that Senior and Young journalists, MPs, former Vice-Presidential candidates, leaders of civil society etc. should begin to call the Methodist, Catholic and in general Christian leadership in Ghana intolerant, bigots and arrogant? Without researching and being conversant with the facts, understanding the issues and therefore being in a position to draw fitting conclusions? 


CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS

As we conclude we would like to highlight three (3) issues for the attention of the general 

public:


1. In terms of relevance, the constitution of Ghana supersedes every other piece of 

legislation or law that has been passed by parliament and accented by the President. 

The constitution of Ghana also takes precedence over any legislation, sub-legislation 

that exists or is being created by MDAs, MMDAs and related agencies including 

policies, contracts/MoUs and more.


2. The Constitution of Ghana 1992, in Article 14 (1) (e) states categorically that: no 

person shall be deprived of their personal liberty/rights except: “for the purpose of the education or welfare of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years”. In other words, for persons under the age of 18 years personal liberty/rights 

can be restricted where necessary, for their WELFARE and EDUCATION. This upholds the authority/rights of not just parents but also educational institutions to institute rules and regulations for their wards or students.


3. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to place on record that there is already a legal precedent on the issue of granting religious rights and its potential impact on the 

management of educational institutions in a similar case. So on Friday 11th November 2005, an Accra Fast Track High Court threw out the SDA students 

motion on examination dates (GNA). Earlier 149 students pursuing various courses at the University prayed the Court for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the University from conducting examinations on November 19th, November 26, December 3rd and December 10 which are Saturdays. They also sought a perpetual injunction to 

restrain agents and servants of the University among others not to compel them to participate in academic activities including writing examinations on Saturdays. The 

SDA students argued that the University’s conduct of examinations on Saturdays were “illegal, unlawful and a breach of human rights”. In their supporting affidavit the students indicated that they were members of the SDA, 

who adhered strictly to its tenets and this does not allow them to engage in secular activities or work on Saturday which is their Sabbath Day. These activities included attending lectures, tutorials and seminars (Ghana Web, 2005). The court ruled in favor of the university, recognizing the university’s authority and responsibilities in providing education whilst dismissing the religious discrimination 

grounds for the action. It was no discrimination so long as it was not targeted at a particular group and applied equally to all students. We are of the firm opinion that the basis of SDA students case dismissal will equally apply in this WGHS case as well. We want to emphasize that State and Religious body relationships are crucial for developing and 

providing the infrastructural needs of the nation. Consequently, it is in the interest of the State for such relationships to continue to be nurtured and promoted. The Christian community in particular 

can boast of having significantly contributed to the Health and Educational infrastructure of 

Ghana. 


We therefore call on the President of our dear Nation H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to 

continue to uphold the Constitution of Ghana as he has sworn to do. We call on the Minister for 

Education Honourable Dr. Yaw Osei-Adutwum, not to inadvertently attempt setting a policy 

precedent that would be at variance with the Constitution and that would raise unnecessary religious tensions in the country. We look forward again to the Minister for Education, Honourable 

Dr. Yaw Osei-Adutwum demonstrating that he will deliver on their 2016 promises and 

commitments through quickly providing a road map for handing over all mission schools in the 

short term. We call on all faiths to respect the tenets of our Constitution, the Ghanaian Constitution 

and to build and maintain bridges that will continue to propel our nation Ghana forward. 

God bless you and God bless our homeland Ghana!


E.Bashan


Mrs. Eyram Bashan

Media Gate Lead, Advocates for Christ Ghana

admin@advocatesforchristgh.com

054 547 7771





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