THE WESTERN Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Alex Asamoah, has stated that the criticisms against the former President, Jerry John Rawlings by the clergy, coupled with a request that he rendered an unqualified apology to President John Agyekum Kufuor, was not only untenable but also unjustified.
Describing the church leaders as hypocrites, he said the clergy must render an unqualified apology to the former President for sitting down unconcerned without raising any qualms, when he was subjected to various insults and innuendoes by some top stalwarts of the ruling government, including the incumbent president, both when Rawlings was in office and after his tenure.
“When did the clergy realize that an insult of a sitting president is tantamount to denigrating the presidency and the president? This smacks of hypocrisy at its worst by these religious leaders. If anything at all, the clergy must bow their heads in shame and render unqualified apology to the former President, for sitting down unconcerned when Rawlings was denigrated.”
“Who knows that this statement was drafted at the Castle and given to them to append their signatures after the President summoned them and told them what to do,” he quizzed in suspicion.
Speaking to The Chronicle in a telephone interview, in reaction to the suggestions of the Church leaders, Nana Asamoah, fuming at the clergy, said, the clergy has not only lost the moral courage to speak for the voiceless but has now betrayed the trust reposed in them by the public, adding that it is now clear that the clergy has also gone to bed with the government, joining a section of the media.
Last Friday, the leaders of the Churches in Ghana attacked “indecency” in Ghanaian politics, and demanded an apology from the former President for comparing President Kufuor with Ataa Ayi, the notorious armed-robber.
The clergy had stated that, the President personified the nation and “disrespect towards him is tantamount to bringing the people of Ghana into contempt, disrepute, dishonour and disgrace.”
They found it unacceptable therefore that the sitting president would be compared to a notorious armed robber.
The statement, was signed by Most Rev. Dr. Justice Akrofi, the Anglican Bishop of Accra and Arch-Bishop of the Province of West Africa, Most Rev. Dr. Robert Aboagye-Mensah, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Rt. Rev. Dr. Yaw Frimpong-Manso, the Moderator of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Ghana and Apostle Dr. Michael Ntumy, the chairman of the Church of Pentecost.
But Nana Alex Asamoah, who went into history about how the former president was insulted, rubbished what he termed, “the effusions of the church leaders,” and noted that their call was uncalled for, but has only given credence to the wildly held suspicion that the church leaders are in bed with the government.
“It is amazing that the church leaders who are expected to speak for the voiceless are behaving like this. Where were they, when President Kufuor and his men described Mr. Rawlings a thief and described him as 'abonsam?' What did they say when Mr. Edumadze called Prof. Mills, then the Vice President of this country 'a chamber pot?' Where were they when Prof. Adu Boahene ridiculed Rawlings by naming his pet Rawlings? Where they were when Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, on a platform with President Kufuor said he, together with Kufuor would uproot 'the Satan?' When did they realize that insults do denigrate personality and the presidency,” he enquired.
The NDC regional chairman observed further that it was untoward of the Church leaders to keep mute, when the privileges and courtesies were withdrawn on the basis that Rawlings should live like a statesman.
“Rawlings did not insult Mr. Kufuor. He was only echoing the sentiments of the demonstrators who carried placards with such inscription and it was a chorus. It was not something like Rawlings had manufactured. It was something that was written on the placards and the demonstrators were saying it. Which is more serious, to compare or to describe?
It was unfortunate that the religious leaders are now playing to the gallery, failing woefully to speak on the economic hardships that are currently affecting the nation.”
According to him, it was amazing when these church leaders come out with issues of this sort, “In fact where were they when President Kufuor bad-mouthed Rawlings to the Western Powers, to seriously make efforts to track down any ill-gotten wealth of the former president?”
Responding to assertions that the former President had been making frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations against President Kufuor's administration, Mr. Asamoah submitted that, “They are only singing to the tune of the government. Who would say on authority today that the government has no hand in the murder of the Ya-Na and others? That is why I say it is hypocrisy at its best, and they should therefore bow down their heads in shame.”
Pushed about moves to reconcile the two, he said, there is the need to reconcile them to ease political tension but dismissed the suggestions that the religious leaders should be at the forefront. “We need a neutral body to mediate, but not the church leaders because they have disqualified themselves for taking sides.”