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29.10.2008 Politics

Christian Council can't compel churches to worship ahead of election

By gna

The Christian Council of Ghana said on Wednesday that it was not in any position to compel any Christian denomination to worship ahead of the December 7 general elections, which falls on Sunday, as recommended by groups and individuals.

The Chairman of the Council, The Right Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong-Manso said it could only urge the churches to hold that Sunday's service early in order to get their members to exercise their franchise.

A cross-section of the public has expressed fears that the Christian Sunday worship service was likely to result in a low turn-out at the polls.

Rt. Rev. Dr Frimpong-Manso said this at the launch of the Council's 80th Anniversary celebration in Accra.

The Chairman of the Council asked the country to consider an amendment of the constitutional provision mandating elections on December 7 or to adopt any other measures that would best represent all interests.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference has directed Catholics to hold their Sunday mass on Saturday, December 6.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Frimpong-Manso further expressed the Council's commitment to ensure that elections were conducted in a peaceful manner.

The Rev. Dr. Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the Council, also reiterated the call on political parties to put Ghana first in their political campaigns in order to ensure a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election.

He also asked the media not to report any statements by politicians that would create tension and violence to undermine Ghana's democracy.

Dr Deegbe commended the Electoral Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education for the good work done so far and urged them to intensify public education on civic rights and responsibilities and rules governing elections.

Touching on issues pertaining to the Christian society, the General Secretary expressed concern about the proliferation of churches, increasing rate of social vices and merry-making during funeral services, saying these habits were against the Christian teachings that called on churches to become the salt and light of the world.

He also urged all churches to unite and to help achieve the Council's mandate of peace, reconciliation and integrity of God's creation.

The anniversary celebration would include a musical concert, Bible quiz, book launch and other inter-church activities. It would be climaxed by an Awards Night to honour personalities who have contributed immensely to the Council's growth.