55
Opinions Mon, 24 Aug 2009

Is the Integrity of the Christian Council under assault?

Yaw Opare-Asamoa

oasamoa@gmail.com

The ‘Christian Council’ (CC) has been in the news lately and depending on where you stand on the political divide, it may be for the right or wrong reasons. The Church or at least leaders of the Church are supposed to be the moral compass of the society. I do not agree with those who say Church leaders should stay away from politics. Throughout history and the world, the Church has at various times stood for what is right and even fought for justice and equality. Yes, the Church has not always gotten it right but it has always managed to correct itself whenever it has gone off the mark. As the moral compass of the society, the Church should be seen as an ‘honest broker’ in all situations. So it becomes very worrying and troubling when sections of the society do not feel that the Church is unbiased. When the Church loses its integrity, it also loses the authority to intervene when ‘evil’ is being perpetrated in the society. I am particularly referring to the statement put out by the Youth Activist Network of the National Democratic Congress. This NDC ‘Network’ has a problem with the Christian Council (CC) and even seems to suggest that the CC is on the side of the NPP against the NDC. I read through their statement and they levelled a number of charges against the CC. I am not privy to the actions or inactions of the CC with respect to the specific cases cited by the Network so I can’t say much about that. What I can say is that whether the allegations are true or not, the CC should do well to respond to them. It is important that the society sees the CC as honest and impartial and so it is up to them to clear the air as soon as possible. If there are records of statements made against the BNI and other State agencies during the NPP era for perpetrating ‘illegalities’, such records should be made known.

Beyond the foregoing I am finding it rather difficult to understand what the ‘Network’ is complaining about. The Rev. Fred Deegbe is reported to have said that the “culture of vendetta seems to be taking root in our country” and the ‘Network’ believes this to be “rather too political a statement” to come from a religious leader? Wow!! At least the ‘Network’ did not call that a lie. Which part of that statement is too political? What is too political about speaking the truth? Is the culture of vendetta not operating in Ghana? Even their (Network) own statement confirmed what the good Rev. said. If in defending the actions of the BNI, you cite instances where the BNI performed similarly under a previous government, which actions you complained against, what is the message being sent across? If you cite incidents like that of E.T. Mensah’s; and others being taken to the BNI and being kept there for almost 48hrs and you castigate the CC for not doing anything about it, it shows clearly that you were unhappy with that situation. Moreover, from all indications, you did not believe and still do not believe that any of those ‘arrests’ were justified. So how then do you do perpetrate the same actions and refer to them as ‘accountability’? Statements by NDC officials leave nobody in any doubt as to what their intentions are. They all refer to previous ‘infractions’ to make their case for what is going on. The Deputy Information Minister, Agyenim Boateng, has made similar references. General ‘Mosquito’ is another that comes to mind. Tsatsu Tsikata was tried and jailed by a court of competent jurisdiction. We may disagree on whether he ‘deserved’ to go to jail or not, but to put a question like “where were they when Tsatsu Tsikata was unlawfully jailed?” is taking it a bit too far. The process was lawful and they should be no misrepresenting of that fact. I personally did not feel that Tsatsu Tsikata’s trial was expedient but that does not make it illegal or unlawful. I have said so at different forums to different people. If the ‘Network’ needs an example of the vendetta the good Rev. talked about, Tsatsu Tsikata’s is one. I believe to this day that Tsatsu was tried more for his role during the PNDC years than for the Quality Grain thing. Again it does not mean that there were no charges against him in the Quality Grain case. It just means that even though he was tried for the Quality Grain case, there was a bigger issue underneath. Now this is what I personally believe and that to me could qualify as vendetta. Let me cite another example: The NPP under Kufuor sent security agencies to Prof Atta Mills’ house in his absence, only to confront his wife Naadu Mills. The Prof. and the NDC complained bitterly against this, and rightly so! Now Atta Mills gets elected President and what does he do? He sends Kofi Portuphy and his group to Kufuor’s house (and yes, you guessed right, in Kufuor’s absence) to also confront his wife Theresa Kufuor. Portuphy and the NDC can give it all the spin they want but if that is not vendetta then probably there is no such word. So if the NDC is not doing anything differently from what the NPP did (at least as far as the BNI is concerned) according to the ‘Network’, then how is the same action considered as “accountability” in one instance and as something else in another? Remember ‘witch-hunting’?

The ‘Network’ also made these statements: “If the execution of the law and constitutional provisions is called a culture of vendetta, we wouldn’t know what Rev. Fred Deegbe and his Christian Council will call the rule of law? If somebody being invited to answer questions on his stewardship is culture of vendetta then Rev. Fred Deegbe should revise his notes, because the last time we checked it is called accountability.” OK, Youth Activist Network and the NDC, if ‘arresting’ Asabee and others qualifies as ‘execution of the law and constitutional provisions’ then surely E.T. Mensah’s, Abodakpi’s and Peprah’s cannot be any different! Or…..

And one can be sure that the NDC would not put out any statement about “accountability” without bringing in the poor taxpayer and the suffering masses. According to the ‘Network’ actions or inactions of the Christian Council and the Ghana Bar Association show clearly that these two groups do not “care about the poor tax payer and the suffering masses, who are being denied good quality healthcare, education, food, clothing and shelter…” That is vintage NDC-pretend to be fighting for the poor at one end and then at the other end implement policies that ‘produce’ more poor people by the day. O, the poor masses of our society!! Everything is done in the name of the poor tax payer (whoever he/she is) but this poor ‘fellow’ continues to remain poor year after year after year. How can you (NDC and the ‘Network’) now support (BNI) actions that you considered inappropriate and so fought against, just some few years back? And I guess a similar question can be posed to the NPP: why are you protesting (BNI) actions that you never found anything wrong with when you were in power? Where do we go from here? Well we can decide to continue on this path or set a new trend. So far Pres. Atta Mills has not proven to be the man to take us in a new direction. We can only hope and pray that the ‘better part’ of him would ‘burst forth’ and prevail in the coming years.

Written and submitted on August 21, 2009
Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw