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18.11.2003 General News

Ensure decent elections in 2004 -Bishops

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Obuasi, Nov 18, GNA - Ghana's Catholic Bishops have called on political parties to ensure that neat year's general elections become an exercise full of decency, truthfulness, tolerance and maturity.

The Bishops said apart from the elections being fair, transparent and free, the political parties should avoid acrimony, insults and violence during electioneering campaigns.

These were contained in a 29-point communiqué read at the end of a weeklong Catholic Bishops conference at Obuasi on Monday night read by His Eminence Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson.

The conference was under the theme, "The Catholic church - Reading the Signs of the Times."

The Bishops prayed that the spirit of reconciliation as symbolised in the national reconciliation exercise would guide the conduct of the elections. The communiqué, which touched on many issues of our national life, warned Ghanaians against the dangers of social and moral corruption.

"We cannot be a healthy nation when dangerous trends, unnatural practices, anti-social values, disrespect for law and such like aberrations are allowed to run alongside good and wholesome ones."

The communiqué said as a result of unstable economy, poverty had become the number one problem and concern of the nation adding "It is pervasive and has brought in its wake massive unemployment. Salaries and wages have not kept pace with the needs of the worker."

The Bishops commended the government for embarking on the Golden Age of Business but were quick to point out that if government failed to ensure the productivity of the local industries, other aspects of the initiative would be elusive especially the creation of employment.

The communiqué said it was not happy about the Ghanaian attitude to work, which negatively affected business.

"Waste of time due to lack of punctuality on the part of both workers and public officials and some cultural practices, for example, the conduct of funerals impact negatively on productivity and revenue generation."

The Bishops commended workers of Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC) for their good work to provide the nation with gold for local and foreign commerce.

They took the opportunity to plead with the government and management of all mining companies not to forget the total good of all Ghanaians, especially "the health and welfare of the mine workers in whatever negotiations they enter into."

On indiscipline the Bishops said, "indiscipline at all levels of our life which involves people from all walks of life, from church members to ministers of religion, from the street child to the politician, from the illiterate to the university professor is dragging the nation further into social, economic and political abyss."

''There is tremendous goodwill in the country and that there are signs of goodness, virtue, sacrifice, patriotism, political stability, economic possibilities and hope.''

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