Palace Coup At Achimota School Over Rasta Students

Achimota School Achimota School

Achimota School, appears to have sacked its Board Chairman, Prof. Ernest Ayeetey over his adamant posturing in the wake of the embarrassing legal defeat in the Rastafarian students' saga.

The school has since softened its instance in a second letter, allowing one of the students to be admitted into the school.

Parents of Oheneba Nkrabea, who was initially denied admission, have confirmed that he was given a warm welcome when he reported to the school, yesterday morning.

The Herald is informed that the second student, Tyrone Marhguy, is expected to report to school today.

This was disclosed by his father who was spotted by The Herald team coming out of the Child Right's office yesterday in the company of his son.

In an informal interaction, he revealed that they will report to School later today. It is unclear, what plans he has for his two daughters who were also denied admission, because they also kept dreadlocks.

The two girls, Nikita and Amrita Marhguy, making up triplets with Tyrone Marhguy, were also refused admission to St John Grammar School in Accra.

But two letters have emerged from the Board of Governors of the Achimota School. While one of the letters dated June 1, 2021, sounded adamant and announced an appeal process, the other letter dated June 3, 2021, sounded more reconciliatory.

The signatures on both letters were different.

While the first letter was unsigned but believed to have come from Prof. Ernest Ayeetey, the second letter was signed by Osei Kwame Agyeman, saying "further to our statement issued on 1st June 2021 on the subject of two Rastafarian applicants, we have been in consultation with other relevant stakeholders to seek the best ways forward, taking into account the interests of all parties".

"While the Board, remains committed to the appeal against the High Court ruling, it will withdraw the application for a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal by a higher court", adding "We have accordingly advised our Legal Counsel in this respect".

The School had in the first statement after the landmark ruling by an Accra High Court which was hailed by the majority of Ghanaians stated that it had instructed its lawyers to appeal the decision.

The Governing Board of the Achimota School, has announced its decision to appeal the ruling by the Human Right Division of the Accra High Court, ordering it to admit the two Rastafarian students.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Board on Tuesday, June 1.

The statement further noted that, "the governing Board of Achimota School was represented in court yesterday, 31 May 2021, and has learned of the outcome of the case brought against it by two persons who had earlier applied to be admitted to the School. The court ruled that the religious rights of the applicants had been violated by the School Management as they sought to enforce time-tested and well-known rules of the School; the court further directed the School to admit the two applicants."

"The School Board disagrees with the ruling of the court. The School Board has therefore directed its Lawyers to appeal against the ruling," the statement emphasised.

The mother of the student, Madam Maana Myers, had said her son was welcomed on campus by the Day Students School Prefect.

She said the Prefect, also said Oheneba was going to be her student during his time at the school.

"It was the day students prefect who approached us in a very warm and nice manner and asked Oheneba whether he was a day student or a boarder and she said you are going to be our school son," Madam Myers said in an interview on Joy FM.

She said the Prefect also gave the assurance that "nobody was going to do anything to him and if he had any problem, he should just approach her".

Madam Myers said the words of the prefect were very reassuring.

The Judgment

Delivering the judgment on the case of two Rastafarian boys, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo held that the Attorney-General failed to provide a legal justification as to why the rights of the two Rastafarian students to education should be limited on the basis of their dreadlocks.

Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea were denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to shave off their dreadlocks notwithstanding that they had passed their qualifying examinations, and had been selected into the school through the computerized placement system.

The school through the Attorney General argued in court that allowing the students into the school will have dire consequences on the school's discipline, health, tradition, and community cohesion.

The Attorney General subsequently argued in Court that the Rastafarian students had not even completed or returned their acceptance of admission forms and could thus not be deemed to have been denied the admission.

But for the students, their parents, and lawyers, this was simply a case of a breach of fundamental rights on the basis of their religion and religious practices.

Justice Gifty Adjei Addo, disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the students, save for 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.