Ghanaians Living in Safety, Peace and Unity Eminent- Catholic Bishops of Ghana
In order to achieve success in the upcoming December 7 general elections amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Bishops of Ghana have appealed to Ghanaians to put an end to all practices that work against peace, and embrace the noble values of politics for the common and greater good of all.
The Bishops noted that every election year comes with its own challenges to the nation, and in this particular election year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a special one to our usual election year concerns.
In a Pastoral Letter the Bishops issued on August 10, 2020 under the signatory of Archbishop Philip Naameh said “We now have to face the difficulty also of protecting ourselves from this coronavirus, the economic downturn in the livelihoods of our fellow citizens triggered by this pandemic, and, at the same time, we all have the grave responsibility of ensuring free, fair and transparent, as well as violence-free elections before and after.”
In a bid to ensure the safety of the citizenry, the Bishops appealed Ghanaians to strive against the monetization of Electoral Politics, especially the buying and selling of votes.
“This corrupts the nobility of politics, and distorts people’s power and will under influence of money,” the Bishops noted, saying that “politicians are elected not for their good leadership qualities, their high moral and ethical values, as well as the noble vocation to serve the common good and the country, but for “mammon”. “Let us eschew such political and electoral corruption,” they added.
Touching on vigilantism and electoral violence, the West African Prelates stated that “These twin evils have again reared their ugly heads at recent elections and shockingly in the course of the voter registration exercise.”
According to them “If not duly exorcised from our body politic, these threaten to plague the 2020 elections, in spite of the enactment of legislations and the endorsement and signing of an inter-party code of conduct and a roadmap to peace.”
The Bishops also highlighted their concern on media and sensationalism, fake news and politics of insult, pointing out that “We cannot but call upon our media practitioners to uphold the highest journalistic standards, ethics and values in their reportage of the electoral processes and activities.
“Journalism is also an indispensable component of the noble vocation of politics,” the members of the Ghana catholic Bishops’ Conference said, asserting that “Of late, however, the increasing use of virtual space and electronic medium of communication has also heightened the threat of widespread use of fake news, insulting language as well as dirty propaganda in election campaigns and in political discourse.”
This according to the Prelates must stop since it was not civilized and also bemoaned the politics of ethnicity, saying that “Ghana, our dear country, is our only heritage.
“We should avoid the negative and highly divisive politics of ethnocentrism, mud-slinging and attacks on ethnic groups and personalities, they decried, adding that “Let politics focus on issues that serve the greater good, that will bring unity and peace, development and dignity to all our fellow citizens and even the “stranger” living in our midst.”