The clergy in Ghana has pleaded with President John Mahama to call to order, key leaders within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Â who are on a head-on collision with men of God, verbally attacking the reputation and integrity of several highly-respected Christian leaders in the country.
Leading the NDC verbal onslaught on the clergy were party General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia and the NDC Central Regional Propaganda Secretary, Allotey Jacobs, as the President observed in silence.
Shocked at the conduct of the NDC leaders, Public Relations Manager of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong, was last Saturday quoted by Asempa FM as saying that he believed that Asiedu Nketia was likely speaking under the influence of alcohol when he blasted the church leadership.
âAny normal person cannot speak like that… I donât know whether Asiedu Nketia was speaking under the influence of alcohol, because how can any normal person without taking in anything speak that way? This is uncalled forâŚ The president must call them to order because these (insults) have been going on for far too long.
âThey are attacking us for wading into a national issue? Do they expect to come to our churches to campaign? They think they can insult anybody just like that? They must apologize unconditionally,â Mr. Osei Akyeampong was reported by the station as saying.
âWe think that for quite a long time, some leaders of some political parties continue to misbehave, using insults instead of dialogue to talk to people and âŚthe Presbyterian Church of Ghana will not tolerate indiscipline on the part of political figures who insult the leadership of the Church,â he added.
The two NDC chieftains did not spare Christian leaders who joined the rising call from the masses that the proposed creation of an additional 45 constituencies should be treated with caution so that it would not create an avoidable challenge for the December 7 general elections and eventually cast doubts on the integrity of the results.
Asiedu Nketia, in response to a press statement issued by the PCG after its annual General Council meeting at Abetifi in the Eastern Region, calling on the Electoral Commission to reconsider the idea, went straight for the jugular of the Moderator of the PCG, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, accusing him of doing the bidding of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and challenging his integrity and competence to wade into a national debate on the issue.
Other men of God, including General Overseer of Gospel Light International Church and Executive Member of the National Association of Charismatic Churches of Ghana, Bishop Matthew Addai-Mensah and General Overseer of the Light House Chapel, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, had all not been spared the NDC-led verbal bombardment.
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC) and several other key civil society groups have all joined calls on the Electoral Commission to postpone the creation of the 45 constituencies until after the December polls.
To Hell With Them
But the NDC said it would never apologize for attacking the clergy and the party seemed to have further sharpened its teeth for more vitriolic bites.
Speaking to Asempa Fmâs current affairs talk show, âKukurantumiâ on Saturday, Asiedu Nketia said his attacks were fair and proper because they were based on facts.
âUnder the Kufour era, when ROPAL came up, we appealed to the religious leaders to intervene, but they were unable to help because President Kufour refused to meet them. In 2004, when 30 constituencies were to be created, the Presby church were not heard, so why now? Have they got mouths to talk now? So let them come again,â he dared.
Allotey Jabobs, also on the same station, noted: âI respect Presby church because it is a church of God. But the leadership of the church anytime the NDC is in power follow the line of NPP in any national issue. As men of God, they are not above criticisms because only God canât be criticised. I will always criticise them if the need arises. As men of God, we didnât hear from them in the creation of the 45 constituencies till the NPP started making noise, so what are they talking about? Are they telling us that we cannot criticize them because they are tin gods or what? They must come again because I will not apologizeâ.
The PCG however insisted it felt insulted by the development and said the church had every right to expresses its concerns on national issues because it had contributed and continued to contribute to the development of the country by way of building schools, hospitals and several other amenities that made the church part of the governance process.
âWe are sounding a word of caution to all political parties- not only NDC- to respect the church and not think that they can insult anybody,â the PCG Public Relations Manager noted.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo