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10.04.2005 Politics

Churches call for decency in politics

By GNA

Accra, April 10, GNA - Christian bodies in the country, have called on Ghanaians, especially those in leadership positions to be circumspect and watch their language. They should also use dialogue characterized by mutual respect, coolness, truthfulness, maturity, sobriety, and the use of decent language in politics.

A statement in Accra by the National Catholic Secretariat, Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal Council noted that the language of political discourse and rhetoric are not part of good and decent politics.

The Christian bodies said they had been carefully watching and studying the social, economic and political developments in the country, and were of the conviction that keeping silent on national matters that affected the well-being of the people would be irresponsible. "We are convinced that a national crisis does not and will not distinguish between Christian 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 were not happy by the apparent soured relationship between President John Agyekum Kufuor and former President Jerry John Rawlings and called on the two and their followers to talk through their grievances to ensure the well being, peace and security of the country.

It said whatever the grievances, the President was the "Persona of the nation" and in spite of political differences, 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 was 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 did a disservice to society because it socialized the impressionable youth and children in most unfortunate language that undermined 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 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 acknowledged the harsh economic circumstances of the country, and said that while the Christian bodies appreciated that government did not have any alternative to some of the tough measures it had taken, it was their wish that the government would explain in bold and clear terms the reasons for its actions.

It said for example that while it appreciated that there was the necessity to remove subsidies on fuel, 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 had given some people the excuse to go on public demonstrations and other forms of protest.

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

It called on the leaders to reflect deeply in 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 both the print and electronic media to be guided by the ethics of their profession because the public had the right to unbiased, accurate, balanced and comprehensive information as well as to express their opinions freely through the media.

It urged all religious people to stand up to be counted against moves that undermined 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.

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

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