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Politics of Saturday, 26 November 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

NPP to collaborate with religious bodies - Opare Hammond

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described the allegation by the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) that it has not addressed the needs of religious bodies in its manifesto as false.

According to a member of the Manifestoes Sub Committee on Chieftaincy, Religious Affairs and Civil Society Organisations of the Party, Mr Opare Hammond, the observation by CCG is false.

Reacting to a news item which appeared in the Daily Graphic on November 18, 2016 on page 18 with the headline “Parties neglect religious bodies in their manifestoes,” Mr Hammond stated “The NPP wishes to state that the observation of the general secretary of the CCG is false.”

Engagement with religious bodies

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Hammond noted that the NPP government would collaborate with all identified religious bodies in Ghana as captured in its manifesto.

He said the collaboration would be in the areas of good governance, education and health, adding that the NPP even in opposition recognises the important role that the religious bodies play in the governance of the nation.

page 108 of the NPP manifesto states, “We will build an effective partnership with religious bodies, civil organisations and the private sector in the delivery of quality education. This partnership will also include the areas of management, supervision and training of teachers in their units.”

Furthermore, page 176 of the manifesto also states, ”The NPP recognises the special role the religious bodies play in the development of the nation.The religious bodies have been in partnership with Ghanaians in the provision of education, health facilities and moral upbringing for about 200 years.”

“The NPP will continue to engage religious bodies as the leading moral-cultural institution that has a key role in moulding the character and conduct of our citizens. We appreciate the value of the involvement of religious organisations in the management of faith-based schools and we will explore the possibility of enhancing their involvement,” it said.

It further stated, “We also acknowledge the important roles of the mission hospitals in our healthcare system, especially in rural areas. The NPP will, therefore, ensure that religious bodies in the health sector receive their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) payments promptly and commits to payments of existing debts.”

Recall

Mr Hammond recalled that in 2013 when the NPP decided to petition the Supreme Court on the results of the 2012 Election the presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, in the company of the national executive members and other senior members of the party consulted all major leaders of religious bodies. The Christian Council of Ghana, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ghana Pentecostals and the National Association of Charismatic Churches are some of the Christian organisations consulted.

The party also consulted the Chief Imam as well as the Ahmadis to explain the reason behind the decision to go to court and seek their counsel and prayers, he said.

In addition, he indicated that, after the court verdict in August 2013, many of these bodies called on Akufo Addo to congratulate him on “not agreeing with the decision of the Supreme Court but accepting it in the interest of peace and unity of Ghana.”

He further stated that the above-mentioned was followed by thanksgiving services held with the Ghana Adventist Convention and the Ghana Pentecostal Council.

According to him, in the light of aforementioned, consultations were held with the religious bodies and their areas of concerns had been captured in the party’s 2016 manifesto.

Mr Opari Hammond said, Nana Akufo Addo was reassuring religious bodies that, he would be available to them when given the opportunity to lead as the president of Ghana.

Background

THE Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) in an interview with the Daily Graphic last week said, political parties in the country had neglected religious organisations in their various manifestos ahead of the December 7 polls.

The General Secretary of the council, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, “churches need recognition in the form of policy statements in the manifestos of the various political parties”.

But the NPP says they were excluded since their manifesto addresses the concerns of religious bodies in the country.