We are partners in development - Clergy

The Catholic clergy in the Northern Region has appealed to the government to encourage the church to continue to be a partner in development and give it space to contribute meaningfully to the development and moral upliftment of the country. The call was made at the 13th Biennial Plenary Assembly under the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Conference (TEPPCON) on Wednesday in the West Gonja District. The Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Archbishop of the Tamale, said successive governments had taken decisions or had signed agreements with international development partners that had affected progress of church projects. He said political interference often frustrated church projects and this made it difficult for the church to contribute to poverty alleviation. The conference was under the theme; "The impact of TEPPCON on the holistic development of the people of Northern Ghana, the way forward". The Most Rev. Naameh called for a speedy partitioning of the Northern Region into three regions to ease religious and political administration since the Catholic Church has three dioceses in the Northern Region and administrating the congregation from Tamale was too cumbersome. He said partitioning the region was of much interest to the Catholic Church because of its large size and multi-ethnicity. The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Steven Sumani Nayina, said in a speech read for him that the Catholic Church had played an enormous role in the development of the country. He said the church was faced with apparent predicaments and loss of opportunities for the youth due to the growing complexity of globalization and fast technological changes. "These revolutions have a direct bearing on your principal task of evangelization since evangelism must go hand in hand with building of schools, health facilities, fight against poverty, agriculture, water projects and among others but the church lacks the capacity to carry out these activities." He called on the church to strengthen its contributions in conflict management, peace and justice, poverty and more importantly how to make the church self-sufficient in the face of dwindling patronage from Rome and elsewhere. Mr. Donald Amuah, a consultant and an expert in conflict resolution, attributed the number of conflicts in the northern regions to historical and socio-political reasons. He said the indigenous kingdoms were disrupted by the onset of the slave trade and colonialism by the colonial masters, disintegrating and causing skirmishes among ethnic groups and kingdoms. Mr. Amuah said the elite class that took over political leadership from the slave masters also accepted the situation as it was and took initiatives that consolidated their power base or punished those chiefs that did not support their views. He said sustainability of peace in northern Ghana could only be achieved if democracy was fully embraced.