By Osei Nana Yaw
Suffice it to say that it was with a solid reason why people were uncomfortable with Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey’s public outburst, because not only did he threaten people sources of livelihood but upset their electoral fortunes.
Perhaps the 52nd governor of New York, Mario Cuomo was right when he intimated that politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Fellow countrymen, what at all is the sin of Rev. Professor Martey, the former moderator of the Presbyterian church of Ghana? His only sin was when he publicly advised the government to stop appointing inexperienced individuals into public office.
Recently, he was in the news again for attempting to make known some unsavory happenings in Ghana relative to bribery and corruption. As Ayi Kwei Armah asserted “A mind attacked and conquered is guided easily away from the path of its own soul.” In the history of every struggle, it takes the courage and tenacity of one individual to usher the fight into its intended climax.
The silence of the previous moderators of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana does not imply that all is well. The aim of this article is to reflect on the imperative need to stop the unnecessary attacks on professor Martey.
Any attack to professor Martey is an attack to the entire Presbyterian Church. Religious bodies throughout history have contributed to the development of humanity. For example, the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo (354AD-430AD) sparked-off the movement to deconstruct religion from holding ascetic legalism only.
St. Augustine in his philosophical writings had asserted that salvation implies faithfully walking in love for humanity but not only based on holding ascetic legalism. Besides, the ideas of Max Weber, as espoused in his book, the protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism, was a motivating factor for believers of Christian faith to entreat their respective professions as a divine call to serve God.
This notion, as preached in the pulpit, substantially contributed to the rise of industrial revolution in Europe.
In Ghana, the monumental achievements of the Christian missions namely: the Basel mission (Presbyterian Church of Ghana), Wesleyan Mission (Methodist Church), Church of England’s society for the propagation of the gospel (Anglican Church), the Bremen mission (Evangelical Presbyterian Church), Seventh day Adventist mission, Roman catholic mission (Catholic church) through the provision of schools and healthcare facilities which are distributed ubiquitously throughout the country deserve commendation.
The contributions made by the Ahamadiyya Moslem mission through the provision of schools and hospitals must equally be praised. Kudos, our dear religious partners in development, but like the proverbial Oliver, we will always ask for more.
The backbone of Ghana’s economy had been cocoa. In 1911, Ghana became the leading producer of cocoa. Cocoa occupies second place on the list of Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings and constitute about 30% of all the export revenue representing about 57% of overall agricultural export.
Cocoa was first introduced into Ghana by the Basel mission before, Tete Quarshie, who himself was a mission trained gold-smith, brought his “amelonado” cocoa pods into Ghana in 1879 from an Island of Fernando Po, modern equatorial Guinea.
If a church like Presbyterian Church has contributed in diverse ways to the development of Ghana, then what prevents the moderator from speaking on national issues? In history and antiquity, all individuals who are truthful on national issues were intimidated.
For instance, Francois-Marie d’ Arouet better known as Voltaire was harassed for his objections to certain social and political orders of his time. Voltaire was a firm believer in religious liberty. He saw the French political system, the monarchy and its unfair balance of power, in an incredibly negative light.
According to Voltaire, the bourgeoisie was ineffective; the aristocracy was very corrupt and parasitic; the commoners were too superstitious and ignorant; and the only usefulness of the church was to use its religious tax to create a base coherent enough to fight the monarchy. In todays’ Ghana, people are becoming more and more superstitious and politicians have taken them for granted. Socrates was equally executed for allegedly corrupting the minds of the young ones.
Professor Martey has never been person-centered and selfish. He is a real patriot. His love for his country, simplicity, and disdain for ostentation, corruption, kakistocracy and injustice is worthy of commending. For example, a country like Ghana, Mr. Okudjeto Ablakwa with no experience in education or research work is appointed to head the entire tertiary education in the country.
Are we saying citizens like Professor Martey must not talk? In the next 10 years, we will see the unemployment rate in Ghana due to the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities.
The president must have been ill-informed about the pros and cons of the conversion. I read the defense of the policy by two lecturers of Kumasi Polytechnic, which was ridiculous. They talked about progression of students of polytechnics, awarding degrees like Doctor of technology and the elevation of polytechnic lecturers to the status of university teacher among other things.
The purpose of conversion therefore is to produce higher degrees for polytechnic students. One will wonder the correlation between an awarding of paper degrees and economic development. Apparently, Mr. Ablakwa could be useful somewhere but not to supervise professors. People insult professor Martey on issues like this?
President, Mahamah might not be under performing as being speculated. However, many people think he is joking with the country because of his appointees. Other funny argument is that professor is working for the opposition party. He was appointed in 2010, while the NDC was in power. “the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) at its 10th meeting held at Takoradi from August 6-12 elected a new Moderator.
A statement issued in Accra on Friday and signed by Mr Emmanuel Osei Akyeampong, Public Relations Officer of PCG, said the Moderator-elect, The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, would take over from Right Reverend Dr Yaw Frimpong-Manso.
It said Rt-Rev. Frimpong-Manso's tenure of office ends in December 2010 and that The Rev. Prof. Martey officially assumed office on December 1, 2010.” So which government must he criticize? “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism” (Wole Soyinka). If speaking the truth and exposing rots in government give someone a witchcraft, then I need that witchcraft.
When it comes to a defense minister or a finance minister, a politician needs an experienced hand, when it comes to attorney general, a politician needs a legal brain, but when it comes to education, health and energy anybody at all could be appointed.
Is it not hypocritical for politician to bastardize the church and its leader and use protocol list for admission at Legon Presec? The government alone cannot provide all the needs of the citizens. This partly explains why the orthodox churches must be commended.
It is imperative the government introduce a policy known as “operation educate your high school church members” where the churches with high schools will be given 50% of the admission for their members, and the remaining percentage based on merits.
This will force the modern churches to build high schools to complement government efforts.
In one of the plato’s dialogues, “apology”, Socrates reportedly said: “I do not know, men of Athens, how my accusers affected you; as for me, I was almost carried away in spite of myself, so persuasively did they speak. And yet, hardly anything of what they said is true.
Of the many lies they told, one in particular surprised me, namely that you should be careful not to be deceived by an accomplished speaker like me” Are the government apparatchiks and aficionados warning us against a patriot like Rev. professor Emmanuel Martey?
I think professor Martey does not deserve all these insults. We are insulting him because there appear to be nothing pure within impure Ghana. Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey, aluta continua, most of us are with you. God bless our homeland Ghana. “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” (Socrates)
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