28.04.2004 General News

Stop organizing religious services during working hours

28.04.2004 LISTEN

Accra, April 28, GNA - Mr Paul Adu Gyamfi, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Wednesday said the holding of church service during working hours was counter productive and detrimental to the economic development of the nation.

He said: "it is wrong for church services and other religious activities to be organised daily around the clock. This practices is breeding and building lazy people, who hide under the banner of spiritualism instead of working".

Mr Gyamfi was contributing to a discussion on: "Building Social Capital For Rapid Growth of Ghana's Democracy," at the Fourth Annual Constitution Week celebration in Accra organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

He said churches that based their spirituality on the outward display of religiosity by attending church service around the clock were wrong, adding that in some countries where people attended church service for only one hour a week newspapers were left in the open for people to pick and pay for them but the same could not be done in Ghana where people spent hours on end at church services.

The GBA President also called on the Bar to demystify the law and open up to the less privilege, saying: "It is now time for the Bar to protect public interest through the law. Lawyers should be at the forefront to initiate and conduct public interest cases." Mr Gyamfi said: "We should defend public interest. Fight for the vulnerable without considering the cost and benefits and provide legal aid to ensure that justice permeate throughout the country."

Mr Gyamfi commended NCCE and its collaborators for building public interest through the annual celebrations, stressing that it had brought to the fore the need to protect the Constitution.

Speaking on the main topic: "Building Social Capital for the Rapid Growth of Ghana's Democracy," Professor Joseph R. A. Ayee, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ghana, Legon, said building social capital was the key to making democracy work, even though, it was not an easy task.

He identified some pillars on which social capital for democracy could be built to promote the rapid growth of democracy.

The pillars included: Sustained and proactive civic education by all stakeholders; socialization of Ghanaians by political parties and civic group to be more sensitive to the shared aspects of society through the building of trust, reciprocity, community spirit, tolerance and other good set of norms.

Others were facilitation of coordination among elites, both within the government and with the minority parties, by fostering accommodative practices among otherwise antagonistic elites.

Politicians and policy makers he said should make pronouncements that would promote credibility and trust rather than division and rancour. They should work towards broadening and strengthening civil society through their vigorous involvement.

He said emphasis must also be placed on the creation of community facilities to defuse the emerging individualistic attitude creeping into the Ghanaian society.

Prof. Ayee said participation in social networks and community-based groups should be used to promote the social capital ingredients of trust, reciprocity, and community spirit promote growth of democracy and not used as vehicle by few people to bolster their social support network.

The week - April 28 to May 4 is under the theme: "National Integration Through Tolerance," aimed at creating an increased and sustained interest and participation of all Ghanaians in the new democratic dispensation for the achievement of good governance, social and political stability for national unity and development. It would also be used to examine individually and collectively, how Ghanaians had lived by the tenets and prescriptions of the Constitution over the past 12 years of constitutional rule.

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