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Opinions of Sunday, 16 December 2018

Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Building domestic violence shelters must be the business of churches and NGOs

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Making a governance priority issue out of the proposed construction of Ghana’s National Cathedral is decidedly a pontifical nonissue raked up by cynics who clearly did not have the security and protection of victims of domestic violence at heart, or in mind, until the proposition of the need for the establishment of a multipurpose National Cathedral came into the picture, as it were (See “National Cathedral Versus Victims of Domestic Violence Shelters” / 12/6/18). If the advocates of the domestic violence shelters really cared about the victims of domestic violence, especially battered adult-women with children and in various forms of conjugal relationships, these advocates and anti-Cathedral critics would be studiously focused on how to make social welfare or child-support policy measures and laws work in the country.

For example, how many men literally have several children with women whom they routinely violate or abuse with reckless abandon and walk out on these women and out of the lives of these children without having to pay any child and/or spousal support? This is the kind of issue which these advocates and critics ought to be focused on, if they really care about the protection of victims of domestic and sexual violence. The anonymous editorialist of the afore-referenced article is, however, smack on target to emphasize the need for Christian Churches – and I would also readily add Moslem Mosques – to get involved in the provision of shelters and social services and psychological counseling services for victims of domestic violence. As well, civil society organizations could also get involved in this most noble venture. Indeed, if the editorialist really cares to know, here in the United States, most of such social-intervention or welfare services are routinely undertaken by nongovernmental organizations which are then supported over time by both local and federal governments. In Ghana, unfortunately, it often tends to be the other way around, which overtaxes and overstretches the limited resources of the Central Government.

This morbid socialist mentality is primarily the reason why Third-World countries like Ghana are having such a difficult time in progressing at an acceptable rate or level of socioeconomic and cultural development. There is also absolutely no evidence indicating that even if the construction of a National Cathedral were not in the works, that sectors of our national development process verging on the quality of healthcare delivery, transportation and sanitation would be any better than they are presently. The fact of the matter is that there will always be innumerable sectors of our national life needing remarkable development upgrade, whether the construction of the proposed multipurpose National Cathedral was in the works or not. Then also, we need to get away from this morally nauseating mindset that the establishment of these domestic violence shelters must be located in our nation’s capital and the other metropolitan and municipal capitals and centers around the country.

The problem of domestic violence is a nationwide issue, and so must be the means by which we attempt to tackle such problems. It is also on record that Mosques have been built in the country with the direct fiscal involvement of our national government, as well as the constitutionally illegal involvement of other foreign governments, at least such was the case with the previous regime. Yet, none of the critical questions being presently raised about the proposed construction of a National Cathedral were raised then. Is this a simple question of the hypocritical act of political and ideological selectivity or convenient amnesia? Or it is simply that these anti-Cathedral critics are of the rather bizarre view that Ghana’s Muslim religious minority is, somehow, endowed with superior civil rights and privileges? We demand answers.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD