Maintain Political Neutrality —Christian Council Urges Churches

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has called on churches in northern Ghana not to be drawn into the disagreements of the political parties in relation to the ongoing election petition before the Supreme Court. Reverend Canon Joseph De-graft Johnson, Director of Programmes of the CCG, who made the call, said: “We must maintain political neutrality and speak the truth, no matter how bitter it is and be proactive rather than reactive.” Rev De-graft Johnson was speaking at a meeting in Tamale on Friday on peace and national cohesion attended by Bishops, Zonal and District heads of the member churches of the CCG and chairpersons of local councils of churches from Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Brong Ahafo regions. The meeting was to think through what the Church in northern Ghana could do to ensure that whichever way the verdict of the Supreme Court would go, it would be acceptable to all. The Supreme Court is expected soon to give its final verdict in the election petition brought before it by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 Elections, and his Running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Chairman of the NPP. They are challenging the outcome of the December 2012 presidential election, praying the court to annul more than two million votes garnered by the winner, President John Mahama. It is feared that some people who would not be satisfied with the final verdict may engage in violence, and this underscored the efforts of the Church to preach peace to make all accept the ruling. He said about 70 per cent of Ghanaians were Christians and the Church controlled major stake in national development and could, therefore, not sit aloof for political parties to dictate the affairs of the nation. Most Rev Vincent Sowah Boi Nah, Catholic Bishop of Yendi Diocese, called on Ghanaians to show signs of maturity and act in the national interest by accepting the final verdict of the Supreme Court. A communiqué issued after the meeting committed the church in northern Ghana to call on “Representatives of all political parties in our regions to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court, no matter which direction it goes and to avoid all actions that could cause violence in our country.” The communiqué signed by Rev Martin Bugri Nabor, Chairman of the Northern Sector Office Advisory Committee of CCG, and Bishops and District Heads of churches in the regions, expressed commitment to work together through intercessory prayers, rallies and education programmes to sensitise the public to peace and national cohesion. The church leaders said they would use their pulpits, groupings, and all platforms to educate their congregations on the need to put Ghana first to foster national unity and peace. They called on the security services to be circumspect in ensuring that their display of preparedness did not create fear and panic while recognising their commitment to carry out their legitimate duties.