09.04.2005 General News

Churches urge Rawlings to apologise

09.04.2005 LISTEN

Accra, April 9, GNA - Christian religious bodies have called on Ghanaians, especially does in leadership positions, to carefully watch and be circumspect about their language.

They said political discourse should be a dialogue characterized by mutual respect, coolness, truthfulness, maturity and sobriety and must be of decent language.

A statement jointly issued in Accra over the weekend by the National Catholic Secretariat, Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal Council said the language of political discourse and rhetoric was proving unconscionable, which are not essential part of good and decent politics.

The statement said the Christian bodies have been carefully watching and studying the social, economic and political developments in the country, and are of the conviction that keeping silent on national matters that affect the well being of the people would be irresponsible. "We are convinced that a national crisis does not and will not distinguish between Christians and persons of other faiths or no faith. To remain silent and let things run their own course will be to let things slide into unfortunate situation."

The statement said the people are pained by the apparent soured relationship between incumbent President John Agyekum Kufuor and former President Jerry John Rawlings and called on the two leaders and their followers to talk through their grievances for the sake of the well being, peace and security of the country.

It said whatever the grievances, the President was the Persona of the nation as a whole and that in spite of political differences, and disrespect to him was tantamount to bringing the "good people of Ghana into contempt, disrepute, dishonour and disgrace".

"In that light it is unconscionable for the President to be called "thief". It is equally difficult to condone the couplet "Kufuor ni, Atta Ayi ni", the statement said.

It said that to condone such rhetoric was in effect to "open the gate for sliding down into indiscipline, chaos, violence and anarchy". The statement said such language does disservice to society because it socializes the impressionable youth and children in most unfortunate language that undermines moral life and cohesion of the nation.

"We demand scrupulous and assiduous respect of the office of the President, the official face of the dignified nation and therefore we are calling for an unqualified apology."

The statement said while the Christian religious bodies appreciated the government's "dogged" attempts at good democratic governance, and maintenance of peace, it was equally worried by the existence of indiscipline and corruption at various levels of the society.

"As watchmen of our nations, we strike the alarm that a nation that has room for indiscipline and corruption is headed for ruin. Let not "zero tolerance" be only a slogan. Let it be a reality in all sectors of our society."

The statement said it was pained by the harsh economic circumstances of the country, and that while appreciating that government had hardly any alternative to some of the tough measures it has taken, it was their wish that government, in bold and clear terms, explain the reasons for its actions.

It said for example, while it was appreciated that there was the necessity to remove subsidies on fuel, which may in part be benefiting smugglers, it wished that the concessions and other benefits had been introduced before the removal of the subsidies.

The statement said it was the harshness of these measures that has given some people the excuse to go on public demonstrations and other forms of protestation.

The statement therefore urged the people to understand that politics of revenge and retaliation could only lead to national ruin, which should be avoided.

It urged all leaders to reflect deeply in the African wisdom that "the one making the path is not always able to discern whether the construction is going straight or crooked", because others need to judge their actions.

The statement also urged parishioners of both the print and electronic media to be guided by the ethics of the profession because the public had the right to unbiased, accurate, balanced and comprehensive information as well as to express themselves freely through the media.

It urged all religious people to stand up to be counted against moves that undermine the greatest good of the nation and called upon all to join in a week of earnest prayer for the nation, especially for politicians and for all other forms of leadership from Friday May 6 2005 to Sunday May 15 2005 in various churches.

The statement was jointly signed by the Most Reverend Dr. Justice Akrofi, Bishop of Accra and Archbishop of other Province of West Africa, the Most Rev. Dr. Robert Aboagye-Mensah, presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, Rt. Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong Manso, Moderator of the general Assembly, Presbyterian Church Ghana, Rt. Rev. Dr. Livingston Boama, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Ghana and Apostle Dr. Michael Ntumy, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost. 09 April 05

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