Mahama criticizes US$450 million National Cathedral

Says religious leaders will decide its future

John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has strongly criticized the Akufo-Addo-led government for allocating over US$450 million to the National Cathedral project, citing concerns about the state of the education sector.

Mahama’s criticism, revolves around the perceived misallocation of resources and priorities, particularly when juxtaposed with the pressing needs of the education sector.

The debate over the National Cathedral’s funding, continues to spark discussions on the government’s fiscal decisions, especially in the election year, but Mr Mahama once again failed to give any indicators as to what he will do with the widely condemned National Cathedral project, if voted into power this December.

The NDC’s 2024 flag bearer, stated that his administration would discuss with the religious leaders what the space will be used for.

Addressing religious leaders in Wa during the “Building Ghana Tour” in the Upper West Region, Mahama expressed disapproval of spending such a substantial amount of taxpayers’ money on a cathedral, especially given the significant challenges in the education sector.

Mahama emphasized that the President had pledged to build the National Cathedral as a personal commitment to God.

However, he argued that using public funds for the project contradicts the initial assurance that taxpayer money, including that of people of other denominations, would not be utilized.

The President said that he made a pledge to God that if he won the election he would build a Cathedral for him. So it is his personal pledge, and if he wants to build it, he must gather people who support that conviction to build that. And we were told that public funds were not going to be used for the Cathedral,” Mahama stated.

“But eventually, we found that the Minister of Finance was releasing public taxes. We can’t use public funds including the funds of people of other denominations to build a Cathedral for Christians alone”, he added.

Expressing concern over the allocation of funds, Mahama stressed the urgent need to prioritize the education sector, particularly addressing the lack of essential resources in basic schools.

“Our taxes are paid not only by Christians, they are paid by Muslims. So we can’t use public funds including the funds of other denominations to build the Cathedral for Christians alone,” the former President stated.

He said the government has so far spent 58 million dollars on digging a big hole for the National Cathedral alone.

“So far, 58 million dollars of public funds have been spent just to dig a deep hole, and you have to ask yourself, is it justified in this day and age when children don’t have desks in schools, when children do not have textbooks?

For five years, we have not provided our basic schools with textbooks even though we have come out with a new curriculum because we say there is no money, and you say we should use 450 million dollars to build a Cathedral; even God will be angry with us,” he added.

According to him, that huge amount can be used to solve the pressing needs of school children such as the provision of desks among others.

“You have to ask yourself when in this day and age where children do not have desks in schools. When children do not have textbooks. For five years you have not provided our basic school children with textbooks even though we have come out with a new curriculum.

“Because we say we do not have money, and yet you say we should use 450 million dollars to build a Cathedral even God will be angry with us,” he stated.

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