Parliament has waded into the controversy surrounding the rejection of two Rastafarian students by Headmistress of Achimota SHS for wearing dreadlocks.
First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu says it is wrong to centre the debate around Rastafarianism as a religion.
Speaking on the floor of parliament today, Mr Osei-Owusu said the practice of Rastafarianism involves the smoking of cannabis which cannot be condoned in the school.
“…but I also get worried about the attempt to rope in Rastafarianism as a religion. If we do then we complicate the matter for the young man. The reason is this, if you study Rastafarianism, it involves the smoking of weed, it includes the smoking of weed and weed is an illegal substance. It is not a substance that is permitted to be smoked”.
“Indeed, if you recall, one of the persons that have been brought before this house for contempt of parliament was on the person claiming to be a Rastafarian who went on air to say that MPs smoked weed. He was brought to this house, he was put before the privileges committee and he was found guilty of contempt of parliament, and he was made to apologize and told to go and sin no more.”
He added “so, I think that reference to religion and so on will complicate the matter for the young man. If you look at it from the point of view that Achimota school has the right to prescribe a way of dressing, appearance including hairstyles. If you look at it plainly from that point of view, we can discuss the matter across the board”.