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General News of Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Source: Ghana DCentre

GhDC takes on Rev Asante Antwi

The Ghana Development Centre wishes to condemn the pronouncements of Rev. Dr. Asante Antwi, a former President of the Methodist Church, Ghana at a church service at the Ridge Church in Accra and attended by functionaries of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) including their Flag bearer Nana Akuffo Addo.

We wish to put on record that the Clergy is an integral part of the development of our psychological and spiritual needs as a Nation. This conviction has been demonstrated by their involvement in important National institutions like the Council of State, Commissions of Inquiry and on the National Peace Council. This is due to the neutral role they play as gatekeepers and preachers of the gospel and leaders of their various congregation, which is made up of Ghanaians of various tribes, creed and kith.

It is the trust that our society have in our religious leaders, both Christians and non-­? Christians, that we support any group, be it political or non-­?political, to consult these religious leaders for counseling, prayers and guidance since we pride ourselves as citizens of a highly religious Nation upon whom God’s blessings reign. That is why we find the positions espoused by Rt. Rev. Asante Antwi, which were premised largely on falsehood as most disappointing. The Ghana Development Centre is convinced that by these statements that Reverend Asante Antwi has decided to throw caution to the wind and to disrespect the clerical collar he wears. As a man of the cloth, to descend from the high office he occupied and the respect he commands among Ghanaians as a leader of a major Christian sect, to dabble in partisan politics is just not morally unacceptable but a very serious breach of the trust his congregants have in him. The seeming defense by a section of the public of the shameless and regrettable action of the Reverend Minister can only be described as sad. Likening his actions to the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King is like equaling pigs and stallions. The two gentlemen mentioned above where frontline political figures in dictatorial struggles. It is extremely important we juxtapose these personalities against the prevailing situations they each found themselves. Martin Luther King gave a voice to the downtrodden black community in a racially biased America.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a voice in the wilderness of Apartheid South Africa. Can the same be said of the Reverend Minister? Is he crying out against a stable economy, a single-­?digit inflation economy, a stabilized cedi, restoration of law and order, peace and stability coupled with a functional security set-­?up, improved pay packets for the Police Service and other Civil servants, classroom blocks for our primary school children just to mention a few? Or he is crying out against a presidential leadership that frowns upon and is setting good examples against corruption and the drug business?

It is clear that the Reverend Minister did not only peddle outright falsehood in the case of the use of the Road Fund, the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the issue of indiscipline, but he engaged in the politics of deception, insincerity and blasphemy by using his pulpit to promote stark falsehood and negative political propaganda to massage the ego of Nana Akuffo Addo. Let us remind the Pastor that the benefits of the Road Fund so far are the installation of new all round traffic lights, that work even when the lights are off, fixing of new street lights and the numerous road rehabilitation and construction of new ones in places like Dansoman, constriction of bridges and repair works on damaged roads during the just ended rainy season. We were all in Ghana when Sylvester Mensah. Chief Executive of the Ghana Health Insurance Authority, soon after assuming office, conducted an audit into the activities of the Scheme. To the amazement of Ghanaians, billions of cedis were either unaccounted for or stolen from the Authority via all manner of dubious means by some health providers.

What about the 115 million Ghana cedis arrears left behind by the Kufuor administration as regards the management of the NHIS that was paid by the NDC administration to keep the Health Insurance afloat? It is abundantly clear that the statements of the man of God were borne out of nothing less than a vile hatred for truth, his passion for divisive politics and his disrespect for political authority fueled by his hatred for the Mills government.

We look forward to seeing our Clergy remain within the ambit of their calling to preach the message of Jesus Christ, His redemption and his crucifixion for the forgiveness of sins for the benefit of all humankind and not to expose this level of spiritual corruption in order to please their political interests as against the calling of Christ. We call on the Methodist Church to discipline their man and to officially distance the church from the statements of Reverend Dr. Antwi Asante as a caution to other church leaders who might want to engage in an unwarranted politicization of important National issues for their own parochial interests.

Mr. Samuel George Communications Director 024 9241251