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Opinions of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Columnist: Kwaning, Martin

Has the church and the mosque transformed politicians

The comments made by some leading members of the NDC during their recent visit to the Saviour Church and the call by Alhaji Mumuni (Former Vice Presidential Candidate to Prof.Atta Mills) for the establishment of an inter-partisan religious committee to help prevent conflicts among religious groups, has remained me of a question I once asked a staunch traditionalist whether there is any wisdom, in this modern age, for one to continue to be a follower of Traditional Religion? The answer given was, “ there are absolute merits in traditional beliefs”. To him, traditional belief inculcates into an individual the highest sense of morality in order to avoid the wrath of the gods. This man believes that, lies, wickedness and immoral life can only be checked by traditional ethics.

I will not attempt to comment on the merits or otherwise of traditional religion, neither this medium the appropriate forum to comment on the values of all the three predominant religions in Ghana. But one thing is common with all the major religious groupings- truthfulness amongst followers. Truly, both the Bible and the Quran entreat believers to be truthful and be each other’s keeper.

It was based on our collective beliefs in the teachings in both the Bible and the Quran that on either Sundays (Saturdays) or Fridays we thronged to the Churches and the Mosques respectively to hear transformation messages.

Sadly, majority of us returned from these places of worship with almost the same attitude. Of course, I’m not a Pastor/Imam but when some Politicians solemnly pledged to be truthful to the electorate and majority of them turn to “I don’t care attitude” then there is a cause for concern.

Many Ghanaian Christians living in some parts of Europe will testify that fewer whites go to church, majority of churchgoers are blacks. Ironically, those whites politicians are quick to confess when the law catches up with them, they are anxious to develop their country, never to engage in the killing of their own neighbours as happening in Kenya or Bawku (Ghana). They dare not exploit the people to enrich themselves for fear of the law.

So where do we place the Ghanaian (African) Politician/State Official? During the National Reconciliation hearing, I’m quite sure many who appeared lied, either to get their allege torturers punished or exnorated. Did all parties in the recent cocaine-missing saga reveal the whole truth? Let the law catches up with a Westminster/Whitehall (UK) Politician/State Official and within a few investigation almost the entire truth will be known. That is not what, I believe, is happening in my beloved country, Ghana (and Africa). Since independence, many politicians (both in government and in opposition) and state officials have been indulged in questionable activities and when Journalists exposed them, they usually lie to get away with their misdeeds, this undeniably gives incentive to others to do the same.

In which civilised world, will a whole General Secretary of a Political Party claim that the Sixteen (16) Personalities that contested the recent NPP primaries are thieves and not to be called by the law enforcement agencies to substantiate his claim. Then came another kindergarten speech when a Member of Parliament was reported to have said that should the Jerry Rawlingses engineered any Kenya style violence in Ghana, they the Rawlingses will be the first to die. Shamefully, they thronged to the Churches and Mosques supposedly to worship their Creator. So the White politician who is noted for his/her non-committal to Church/Mosque activities is desperately trying to transform the lives of his/her people, providing modern infrastructure and brainstorming on how to excel in everything. In contrast, some Politicians in Ghana (Africa) sit down thinking solely about how to bring down their opponent; Pull- Him-Down. Strangely enough, the white politician has no extra wisdom more than his black (Ghana, / African) counterpart. What is, sadly missing, is a resolved from the Black (Ghana, / African) politician, for once to free resources for the benefit of his/her people. Uniquely, the white politician will be contend with one car but the black (Ghana, African) politician/state official won’t, he/she will almost definitely exploit the people to get more cars/worth. Awkwardly he/she will jet to the white politician’s land and beg for Aid. It is no surprise that so many people are increasingly losing confidence and trust for their leaders on the continent.

It is beyond comprehensions that in spite of Ghana/Africa abundant natural resources we still linger behind in almost everything. There are some who will be quick to condemn Government Officials and justifiably so, because, primarily Government hold the key to set the agenda, however, we the citizens are part of the problems plaguing the African Continent.

During the recent Hajj fiasco in Ghana there were some leading Muslims leaders who accused some of their leaders for exploiting the Hajj Pilgrimage for their personal gains, thus some even threaten to take their own fellow Muslim to court.

Ghanaians have witnessed repeatedly how some misguided Pastors whose dubious activities have brought the church into public ridicule. I must however, state sincerely that, Ghana’s religious groupings are playing a very important role in re-shaping the moral aspect of many Ghanaians and all efforts must be made to deepen such a crusade on morality. Truly, regardless of the few negatives in our religious set-up, they have undoubtedly re-shaped our moral toughness, clearly Ghanaians are the best morally behaved on the African continent.

I have always felt that if politicians in Ghana (Africa) allowed their fear in the Divine Creator to influence their thinking; there wouldn’t be much anarchy on the Africa continent.

It was not a sheer coincidence that Africa seems to have much resources but selfish Leaders who sleep thinking only about themselves and their families have caused much grieve to innocent people who otherwise would have enjoy a little comfort in life. It is a great worry that some Africa countries seem not to grab the emancipation opportunities created by the advent of globalisation. We have continued to engage in our primitive ideas and there is a feeling that we enjoy being in our unacceptable situation. Unprofiatable arquement, extravagant lifestyle, corruption, nepotism, witchcrafting, pull-him-down, etc are the things that majority of we Ghanaians/Africans can be credited with.

So the big question is, who in Ghana/Africa can lead this crusade that will overhaul our mentality? Is it our Politicians, Pastors, Imams or Traditional leaders?

Thankfully, the current Head Of State of Ghana, H.E. President Kufour has laid a finest foundation and one hope that successive Presidents can build on that. Of course, the summary of the NPP flag bearer Nana Addo Darkwa personal philosophy as eloquently outlined at his recent visit to London and his extraordinary tour to countries in the Sub-region, gives hope for the black Ghana/African.

The time is ripe for us to grab this opportunity and let the spirit of ‘I Can Do It Attitude’ blossom.

Surely when all politicians, state officials, religious leaders, embark on a new agenda of having a sincere attitude, sacrifice and a strong commitments to salvage our country, hope awaits the generation unborn.

MARTIN KWANING,

LONDON


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