Appeal against ruling on Rastafarian student’s case unnecessary – Kofi Asare

An education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has described the government’s decision to appeal a ruling of the High court on the admission of a Rastafarian student at the Achimota School as needless.

According to the school’s board, the court erred by indicating that the rules and regulations of Achimota School with regard to ensuring uniformity in appearance were unlawful and that it interfered with the manifestation of one’s religious rights.

The school has, therefore, urged the Appeals Court to set the entire judgment that orders it to admit the student aside.

In the notice of appeal sighted by Citi News, the Attorney General said the High court judge, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, who had earlier ruled that the two Rastafarian boys, Tyrone Marhguy and Ohene Nkrabea be admitted to the school with their dreadlocks, erred.

According to the AG, the request by the school for the boys to cut their hair before being admitted was not a violation of their rights to education, as the judge averred.

The AG’s office said the trial judge also failed to appreciate the effect of placing the needed weight on the rules and regulations of Achimota School, which borders on the accepted hairstyles of students.

But the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare in a Citi News interview criticised the government on the move.

“It is the primary duty of the state to rather protect and support the rights of individuals. It should not be the case that the state is more interested in fighting the rights of individuals such as that to education, which the state is mandated to protect.”

“It would have been better for the state to let the issue rest.”

An Accra High Court on Monday, May 31, 2021, delivered its ruling regarding the denial of two Rastafarian boys; Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea admission to Achimota School because they failed to cut their dreadlocks.

Justice Gifty Adjei Addo, the Presiding Judge, disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney General and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the embattled students except the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.

According to Justice Addo, it is preposterous for the Attorney General to have even suggested that the two were not students in the first place.

Justice Gifty Adjei Addo consequently directed Achimota School to admit the two Rastafarian students.

Following the court’s decision, Achimota School through its board announced that it will appeal the decision.

The school subsequently made efforts to secure a stay of execution order in order to freeze the implementation of the order, but later announced a withdrawal of the decision.

The school’s board in a statement on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, said it is however committed to an appeal against the ruling of the High Court.

The two boys were subsequently enrolled in the school.

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