Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, has also hailed the Accra High Court’s decision to allow two Rastafarian lads, Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea, to attend Achimota School.
According to him, the verdict represents a victory for humanity and a “colossal step forwards for the country’s constitutional dispensation.”
Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, speaking on Citi TV and Citi FM’s current affairs programme, The Big Issue, on Saturday, June 5, 2021, commended the lawyers of the students for the victory.
He also commended the media for giving a full coverage of the case.
“For me, this is one giant steps again in our constitutional dispensation, and one giant lead for mankind. I am terribly happy, and I think that we need to congratulate everybody who was involved in the process. The media especially and ultimately the lawyers who did the fight.”
Mr. Cudjoe further suggested that the case could have been avoided if the Ghana Education Service had stamped its authority by coming up with clear guidelines for all schools.
“However, I think we shouldn’t have gotten here if the policymakers had come up with clear guidelines for all institutions.”
On the same ruling, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, said it is a progressive one.
According to him, this is a “victory for the right to education and the rule of law.”
“In any country where there are disagreements in relation to the position of the law, the last resort is to go to court. And so citizens going to court to pursue their fundamental human rights in the exercise of democratic rights should be encouraged.”
“I was honestly not expecting this ruling because I have seen previous rulings by other courts in Ghana on similar issues that suggested otherwise. When the parents of the two informed the school authorities of their intention to go to court, the school actually told them that they have handled such cases before, and it goes in their favour, so they are not the least intimidated.”
What did the court say?
Delivering the judgment on the case of the two Rastafarian boys, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo held that the Attorney-General failed to provide a legal justification as to why the students’ right to education should be limited on the basis of their dreadlocks.
Messrs. Marhguy and Nkrabea were denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to shave off their dreadlocks, despite the fact that they had passed their qualifying examinations, and had been selected into the school through the computerized placement system.
The school contended in court, through the Attorney General, that admitting the pupils would jeopardise the school’s discipline, kids’ health, tradition, and community cohesiveness.
The Attorney General then contended in court that because the Rastafarian students had not completed or submitted their entrance acceptance papers, they could not claim to have been refused entrance.
For the children, their parents, and their attorneys, however, this was simply a matter of a violation of fundamental rights based on their faith and religious customs.
Justice Addo disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney General and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the students, except the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.
According to Justice Addo, it was preposterous for the Attorney General to have even suggested that the two were not students in the first place. Consequently, she directed Achimota School to admit the two students.