General News of 2014-04-14

Statement: Christian Council wades into marijuana legalisation

COMMUNIQUE ON NATIONAL ISSUES BY THE CHRISTIAN COUNCIL OF GHANA

Adopted at the 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Christian Council of Ghana held at the Rev. Peter Kwei Dagadu Memorial Methodist Church, Osu on April 9, 2014.

We, the members of the Christian Council of Ghana, having met at our Annual General Meeting on April 9, 2014, at the Rev. Peter Kwei Dagadu Memorial Methodist Church, Osu; Having discussed issues pertaining to the socio-economic development of our dear nation;

Acknowledging our prophetic role as development partners, which imposes a responsibility on us to continue to support nation building efforts and hold government accountable for the well-being of every citizen of this country; while promoting national dialogue around the search for policies and strategies towards the economic growth, prosperity and peace of our people;

That, we cannot continue to do the same things we have been doing in the past and expect a different result. Things must be done differently to achieve different results.

To this end, we declare as follows:

That, we engage and debate on national issues objectively and frankly, devoid of insults and propaganda;

That, the government leads in building a culture of consensus and work with every citizen, irrespective of their political, religious, etc inclinations to find viable and sustainable solutions to the developmental challenges confronting this country;

That, the Ghanaian interest (national interest) and the dignity of the Ghanaian (Ghanaian dignity) must be at the centre of our efforts and national engagements;

To this end, we ask:

Education

1. That government be commended for its decision to make SHS progressively free beginning from 2015;

2. That, government should provide detail information on the funding options for the free SHS;

3. That, government provides a broader platform to debate on returning mission schools to its original owners by engaging the major stakeholders in education;

4.That, the Ministry of Education/Assemblies should stop renaming our mission schools;

5.That, the Ministry of Education respect and implements the existing Prof. Ansu-Kyeremeh Committee Partnership Agreement between the State and Missions to enhance the delivery of quality education in the country;

6.That, government takes the necessary steps to salvage the current falling standards in education;

7.That, the Ministry of Education should speed up its teacher rationalization distribution efforts across the country to ensure equitable distribution of teachers;

Building Culture of Consensus

8.That, government be commended for heeding to the call of the Christian Council of Ghana and other organisations for the organization of a national bi-partisan forum to find solutions to our economic challenges;

9.That, government lead the way in building culture of consensus among citizens;

10. That, political leaders/parties, media, traditional and religious leaders and other stakeholders must support government in building culture of consensus on national issues;

11.That, government provides a participatory platform for Ghanaians to engage in finding solutions to other critical challenges such as energy, unemployment etc that affects our country;

12. That, we avoid the polarization and politicization of critical national issues;

13.That, we discuss national issues objectively with the supreme interest of Ghana at heart;

Love, Respect and Support For Our Leaders

14.That, we must express love, respect and support for our leaders (political, religious, traditional, etc) to enable them deliver;

15.That, we must avail our capacities and time to assist them to deliver;

16.That, we cannot hurt our leaders and expect them to deliver on their mandate;

17.That, we must criticize our leaders objectively, devoid of vilification;

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

18.That, we hasten slowly with the Plant Breeders Bill which is currently on the floor of Parliament

19.That, we continue to broadly discuss the issue and build a consensus on GMO

20.That, we support our agricultural sector, especially the smallholder farmers to become viable

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

21.That, the EPA in its current form is not in the best interest of Ghana;

22.That, government must follow the Nigerian example and protect the interest of Ghanaians;

23.That, the Ministry of Trade’s intentions to hold national stakeholders conference on the EPA should bring together key stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations, Labour Unions, Farmer Based Organisations, Religious Bodies, Exporters etc;

24. That, the EPAs if signed will drive the domestic sector out of business and undermine our developmental efforts;

25. That, we further strengthen our stake in the negotiations through ECOWAS to ensure that our interest and sovereignty is protected;

Gang Killings

26.That, we commend the Ghana Police Service for its visibility across the country;

27.That, the recent gang killings that has happened in the country since January is very unfortunate;

28.That, the Ghana Police Service should bring the perpetrators to book;

29.That, the general public should volunteer information to the Service to help fight such crimes;

30.That, the Lord should comfort the families of all the victims;

Legalization of Marijuana

31. That, marijuana should not be legalized;

32. That the call for the legalization of marijuana will further worsen the current social vices in the country;

33. That, it will destroy the future of our young people;

34. That, it will lead to the rise in mental illness in the country;

35.That, it will undermine our fight against drug trade;

Registration of Churches

36. That, we broadly debate the registration of churches with the established ecumenical Councils in Ghana so as to bring check and balances in the ecumenical front;

37. That, ensuring the registration of Churches with the recognized bodies will help develop a structured front of the Church for national engagement;

38. That, it will help reduce some of the excesses in Churches;

Religious Manipulation

39. That, Heads of Churches sensitize their congregations and followers against ‘self-called prophets and pastors’ who are manipulating people for money and fame in the name of miracles;

40. That, the Department of Social Welfare and the Ghana Police Service undertake a nationwide exercise to stop the operation of prayer camps where human rights are abused;

41. That, the Council is ready to support the Department of Social Welfare and the Ghana Police Service in this process;

42. That, Church leaders live a life of modesty and simplicity, and be compassionate towards the vulnerable in their congregation and society as Jesus exhibited while on earth;

43. That, the Church must also use its resources to actively engage in social interventions such as the provision of schools, hospitals, water, shelter etc;

44. That, Christians must actively participate in the governance process of this country;

Justice & Human Rights

45. That, the Human Rights Division of the High Court be commended for given justice to Mr. Francis Agyare who was kept in detention for 14 years without trial;

46. That, the Chief Justice expedite actions on the trial of all such remand prisoners in our prisons;

47. That, their continuous detention in prison without trial is an abuse of their fundamental human rights;

48. That, their continuous detention without trial is a massive slur on our democratic governance;

Health

49. That, the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance Authority fast-track its efforts to settle arrears owed NHIS service providers

50. That, government should immediately pay outstanding arrears (over GH60 million) owed the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) before the situation becomes unbearable

51. That, government must resource health facilities in the rural areas to facilitate quality and accessible health care

52. That, government should scale up Community Based Health Planning Services in every rural community in the country

53. That, the Ministry of Health must also undertake a nationwide exercise to address inefficiencies in the supply chain of health delivery

Bunkprungu-Yunyoo Conflict

54. That, development cannot take place without peace and security;

55. That, we call on the various functions in the district to stop the fight and resolve their differences through dialogue;

56. That, the Northern Regional Security Council should undertake the necessary steps to bring the perpetrators of the conflict to book;

57. That, the Regional Security Council should ensure that nobody takes the law into his/her own hands;

58. That, the various religious leaders should support efforts at bringing peace into the district;

Our Commitment as a Council

59. That, we will continue to pray for the prosperity and safety of mother Ghana;

60. That, we will continue to remain non-partisan and play our prophetic role in public advocacy and education;

61. That, we will continue to contribute to the provision of quality education, healthcare and shelter to the people of this country through our various member churches;

62. That, we will continue to work with our brothers and sisters from other faith such as Islam, traditional religion, etc to develop Ghana;

63. That, we will continue to promote religious harmonization for national cohesion and development;

Finally, we admonish everyone with Proverbs 11:14 which reads; “ For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers”

Signed:

Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong

General Secretary