Development Can Only Take Place With Unity, Peace and Justice- Catholic Bishop of Damongo
The Bishop of the Damongo Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuome Ankyier, has on Monday 10th August, 2020, called on the sons and daughters of the Savannah region to help build a peaceful, justice and united society to help foster development in the area.
Most Rev. Peter Paul said this at Kong in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district of the Savannah region during the sensitisation of the chiefs and people of the Kong traditional area towards the formation of the Savannah Regional House of Chiefs
To him, Peace is another name for development but there can’t be peace without justice. We must not discriminate against certain group of people or tribes if we needed everybody to contribute to development.
We need to be open-minded, accommodate all the people and stop discriminating against others for rapid development, he said.
We need to accommodate more people to gather more skills for development. We need to do general and not selective mobilization of the people to help develop the region.
It is clear that development has to do with population. If you have a huge source of land without people there won’t be development because empty lands don’t develop by themselves, he added.
The Catholic church has contributed immensely to the development of Savannah over the years. Education, health, water and sanitation and human capital.
The man of God explained that the Catholic church in her mission to create equal opportunities for all, is focused on certain areas of development.
He said Education and Human promotion is one of such key areas the church offered young people the opportunity to develop. They made schools available to the people to learn and develop themselves.
He said some years back, this area had high illiteracy rate with 72% among males and 78.5% in females. So the church built more schools in the area to help reduce these figures and also promote the development of the people.
The Bishop said the Church also promotes female education as well and appealed to parents to help promote girl child education in their homes to boost up the human capital development of these girls.
Another area the church has focused on is provision of health, water and sanitation. Over the years the diocese has provided over 400 boreholes and some dams across the region because we believe that water is life.
Furthermore, the church has assisted in the promotion of health by building health centers and providing snake anti venom, hospital beds to the Kulmasa health center in the East Gonja municipality and other areas in the region. We do all these because we want to develop the general human situation in life.
The Most Rev Bishop called for stewardship from the leaders and charged them to be responsible for the protection of the environment. He stated that the destruction of the environment is too bad and together with the traditional leaders, society can fight the menace.
He called on the leaders to accept and bring on board all the tribes in the area to help fight the disaster.
The Catholic church has been promoting peace and unity among different tribal groups. If people did not appreciate the policies of the traditional area, they will migrate and the area loses in the end.
Having taken the initial step of uniting his traditional area for the Modern Kong Development Plan, the Bishop urged the Kongwura and his likes in Gonjaland to help bring all tribal groups onboard to contribute ideas and resources for development so that everyone in the community will comfortable and have some rights to contribute to the development of the area.
It will take dialogue between cultures, religions and tribes to motivate others to give off their best.
On the creation of the Savannah region and the effort put into it by stakeholders, the Bishop recounted that the church educated her members across the area to vote massively for the creation of the Savannah region.
The church did so because she believes the region will bring development closer to its people.
He said on 12th January, 2019, at a forum of stakeholders at Damongo SHS for the creation of the Savannah region, ‘we all demonstrated collective effort and a great spirit of collaboration from all corners. There was unity of purpose. If this region were to develop we must keep the same spirit we had during the processes leading to its creation’.
However, after the creation of the region there is so much a fight for parochial and personal interest, political partisanship and a systemic exclusion of large portions of the population.
The exclusion of certain class of people from the activities of the region because they don’t have any land or belonging in Gonjaland is not good going forward.
‘To get the benefit of the new region, we must have the courage to include all the people who are living in the area’.
He thanked the Overlord of Gonja Kingdom, Yagbonwura Tutumba Boresa (I) for his wisdom and commended him for a famous statement he made during the stakeholders forum at Damongo SHS; ” the new region is for all people of the area and not only the Gonjas. We can only develop the region by harnessing our resources through unity and diversity. Development is all about bringing a change and we must chart a new path to bring development to the region “.
To develop, we need to change our way of thinking and doing things and we must include all the minority tribes.
The Catholic Church exists in the society and cannot be indifferent to what is happening in the society. The church is concerned about the progress and development of members of the communities she exists.
The church has a universal mission targeted at making the human being reach their potential, because ‘ the glory of God is the human being fully alive’.
Jesus came for the salvation of all and the church continues the mission of the master of ensuring that all human beings survive and flourish.
The objectives of Catholic church among others, is to intensify primary evangelisation and implantation of the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Diocese was established to foster greater inter-tribal dialogue and harmony among the 23 ethnic groups in the area and to promote integral human development for all.
The Damongo Diocese was established some 25 years ago, but for the Covid19, the church should have celebrated its Jubilee in June 2020.
He assured that the process to establishing a church at Kong area will start soon with the good shepherd Parish Priest.
The Bishop thanked the Gonja Traditional Council, Kongwura, and the organisers of the program (Jaksally and the College for Community and Organizational Development (CCOD)) for the support over the years.