'Irresponsible use of power?' - NPP fires back at Catholic Bishops

Philip Naameh Most Rev. Philip Naameh

Wed, 10 Nov 2021 Source: peacefmonline.com

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference has questioned the Akufo Addo-led NPP government's empathy towards the plight of Ghanaians, indicting the current administration of ignoring the abject poverty staring in the face of the public by engaging in deals for personal gain.

The clerics made this known at their annual conference held at Wa, capital of the Upper West Region, on the theme “Fratelli Tutti and Covid-19: Pastoral Challenges and Opportunities in Ghana”.

They hold the view that the President’s pledge to protect the public purse has all but become an illusion.

Corruption ‘Missing’ From SoNA?

It would be recalled that on March 9, this year during the delivery of his first State of the Nation Address (SoNA) in his second term and his sixth SoNA since he was sworn in as President, concerns were raised when the words “corruption”, “corrupt”, “anti-graft” or “graft” were noticeably absent from His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo's speech.

According to the FourthEstateGH, – a public interest and accountability investigative journalism website - reading from a 26-page document in an over 9,000-word speech, the most crucial variable in the governance and development equation of Ghana—corruption—a word the president was very fond of as opposition leader, was curiously non-existent, thus leading to the perception that corruption in Ghana is rising.

Poverty Stares At Us, Yet...

Perhaps, it is in this vein that the clerics felt the need to highlight the issue once again.

Speaking at this year’s plenary assembly of the association, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, Most Rev. Philip Naameh decried the wanton dissipation of the country’s resources by politicians and their cronies for personal gains and called for immediate steps to halt the practice.

“Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power”.

“The expressed commitment of the president of the republic to protect the public purse – a promise that citizens welcomed – seems to be an illusion now”.

“Are those managing the public purse not concerned about [the] waste and misapplication of resources that belong to all Ghanaians?”

“Can this be referred to as irresponsible use of power or the lack of compassion and empathy?” he asked.

“….those who are entrusted with power that comes from our collective will must know that what they do with that, shapes what we all will become in the future,” Most Rev. Philip Naameh noted.

The speech also touched on the challenges confronting key sectors of the economy such as education, health, mobility and transport, fake news and misinformation, cybercrime and prostitution as well as inadequate communication and ICT infrastructure.

The Catholic Bishops subsequently called on the government to take immediate steps to mitigate the current economic situation by initiating policies that will lead to the creation of sustainable jobs for the teaming youth in the country.

Level Of Clarity Important

But in a related development, the ruling party has described the cleric's comments as lacking "clarity."

Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Buaben Asamoa, who questioned the attempt to link financial difficulties with the protection of the public purse. To him, the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Ghanaian economy, cannot be overlooked.

“Where are the specifics on that? Some level of clarity at that level is important. It is not about enabling the NDC to come in and spout....we are widening the social net, and we believe we are sending the economy in the right direction....The impact of Covid-19 that we are still riding has affected cost of living and prices, and many people worldwide have lost their jobs,” he said.

Source: peacefmonline.com