The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, has declared that Rastafarianism involves the smoking of Marijuana (weed).
According to him, weed is an illegal substance and is not permitted to be smoked by the laws of Ghana.
He expressed shock that Rastafarianism is being equated to a religion and warned if this angle is pushed into the debate it will complicate the current development.
The Deputy Speaker was contributing to a statement on the floor of Parliament that stood in the name of MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the conflict between the rights of the child and school rules.
The statement is highlighted by the ongoing debate of two Rastafarian students who have been denied admission into Achimota School for their dreadlocks.
He warned that pushing the religious angle will only complicate the matter for the affected students and stated, “If you study Rastafarianism it includes the smoking of weed. It includes the smoking of weed.”
He recalled that one person who had been dragged before the House for contempt of Parliament was a person claiming to be a Rastafarian who went on air and said MPs smoked weed.
“He was brought to this House and put before the Privileges Committee and found guilty of contempt of Parliament. He was brought here and was made to apologize and told to go and sin no more.
“In this House,” he said.
He argued that Achimota School has not denied the student in question admission through the computerized school selection but stressed the school has the right to prescribe dressing for students including hairstyle.
He averred that he has no personal opinion on the matter but indicated if these suggestions are brought to the discussion it will be better.
He, however, warned that roping in religion will rather worsen the situation.
Hon. Joe Wise stressed that Achimota Schools reserves the right to make rules and regulations that conform to the values of the school and students are bound to obey them.
He noted that encouraging discipline and obeisance to rules is extremely important and stressed the least Ghanaians do is voluntarily obeying rules and cited several examples.
The debate, he said, should also be considered along this line and questioned whether disrespect for rules should now be encouraged.
He said, “If we don’t agree with the rules, then change it but if it is a rule we are bound to obey it.”
The matter, he appealed, has engaged the country for too long and unfortunately transformed into a national debate when it was simply a local impasse.
He argued the state has way too many important issues to discuss and therefore imperative to focus on the bigger picture.