Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, a US-based Ghanaian Accounting Professor has hit back at Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament over his association of the Rastafarian movement with weed smoking.
Kwaku Azar said on Joy News that it is notion that all Rastafarians smoke weed is devoid of practical significance and based purely on stereotype.
“Weed is smoked by a whole bunch of people, one does not have to be a Rastafarian to smoke weed…It is a moot question because one does not go to school to smoke weed. If you’re caught, you’ll be dealt with,” he said.
Kwaku Azar as he is known popularly, said, he was shocked by Deputy Speaker’s assertions and questioned the relevance of weed smoking in the ongoing discussion about the denial of some Rastafarian students enrollment at Achimota School.
He said, “I’m not sure what the relevance of the insertion of weed into an important debate about a very important discussion on the right of students to enjoy religious freedom and the equally import rights of school authorities to have rules that facilitate learning environment.”
“And for the Deputy Speaker to insert weed in this conversation, I was frankly very shocked and appalled. There’s no place for that type of insertion in this important debate,” he added.
Joe Osei-Owusu in contributing to a discussion on the floor of Parliament on the rejection of some Rastafarian students referenced weed smoking as a feature of the Rastafarian movement.
He said, “…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 a 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.”