The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local chapter of Transparency International, has called on religious leaders in the country to use their platforms to preach against corrupt practices so as to win the fight against the canker.
Mr Gilbert Sam, Senior Programmes Officer of GII, made the call in Tamale on Monday at a two-day “Ethics Workshop” organized for religious leaders in the Tamale Metropolis to dialogue and see how the fight against corruption could be won by educating various religious congregations.
There were representatives of the Christian Council of Ghana; Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission; Muslim clerics; National Catholic Secretariat and the Leadership of some orthodox churches in the Metropolis.
The workshop was on the theme: “Zero tolerance against corruption campaign, the role of religious bodies in Ghana.” It was also aimed at initiating a process of an ethics education programme for religious bodies so as to enhance stronger and proactive leadership in the fight against corruption.
Mr Sam said religious bodies had contributed immensely in the provision of education and healthcare delivery to the poor and deprived communities and that religious leaders had also played diverse roles from the membership of the National Peace Council to the National Reconciliation Commission and had used their platforms to promote good governance including the need for peaceful elections.
He said Ghanaians were highly religious and that religious leaders were often regarded as role models and counsellors by their members and stressed the need for religious leaders to shape the character of their members, who occupied public offices to stay away from corruption.
Mr Sam expressed the hope that with GII collaborating with religious bodies to fight corruption; the campaign would not be in vain and appealed to the Government to have the political will to expose and punish corrupt officials to serve as a deterrent to others.
Alhaji Al-hussein Zakaria, Chairman of the Northern Region Inter-Religious Dialogue Committee, observed that corruption existed in all spheres of public life especially in schools, where teachers forced students to buy handouts, and at hospitals where doctors and nurses charged extra fees.
He said even though the media as an institution was expected to expose corruption, some media practitioner had aligned themselves with the State apparatus thereby becoming corrupt themselves and making it difficult to win the war against corruption.
He said corruption was the main cause of poverty and lack of progress in the society and called on all religious leaders to join the fight against corruption by constantly preaching against it so that their members, who occupied public offices, would serve Ghana with clean hearts.