Feature Article of Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Richard Obeng

Christianity, Chieftaincy And Politics In Ghana

Yaw Sarfo Kantanka is generally known as a person of good character in that he does not smoke, steal and that he is morally upright. The forty-year old graduate of a Ghanaian university is diligent both in all his private affairs and public engagements. Besides, Yaw is highly admired by both the young and old at his residential area. No wonder his constituents once impressed on him to vie for a parliamentary seat. But Yaw steadfastly rejected that idea because he felt that that is not a place for good people like him. Before then, he had in different occasions rejected a request from his extended family members to serve as the head of their family, and a sub chief in their traditional area. Surprisingly, Yaw had never prayed into any of these issues to know God’s will as it relates to him.
I recently had an opportunity to interact with Yaw at a leadership conference. He said among many other things that he detests chieftaincy and partisan politics because they are not for good people. Surprisingly, Yaw was convinced of electoral victory for his preferred parliamentary and presidential candidates. He destructively criticized certain political leaders. Besides, he appealed to me to pray for the peace of Ghana and all facets of leaders in the country.
Light glows best in gross darkness. A good soldier is usually known in the midst of an intense battle; a good lawyer is usually known by her advocacy and persuasive styles in a knotty dispute; a saviour of any people is only known after dying to save their lives; and a real servant of God maintains his beliefs and faith even in a burning furnace or lions’ den! John C. Maxwell believes that “the leaders who make the greatest impact are often those who lead well in the midst of uncertainty”. Andy Stanley, another excellent leader and communicator, explained, “Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership. The nature of leadership demands that there always be an element of uncertainty…” Therefore, a real Christian should be able to exercise any forms of authority and still remain incorruptible. Being a Christian is not a title; it is a character!
Christianity, chieftaincy and partisan politics are strong forces insofar as Ghana’s positive growth and development are concerned. A closer study of the Bible reveals that God is a family, and His key focus is Christ-centered nation building. God used the family of Abraham to raise the nation of Israel. Chieftaincy is also vital in raising and preserving kingdoms. God used kings such as David and Solomon to govern Israel. In addition, the British were wise enough to embrace the fact without Indirect Rule, their dominance on Gold Coast Ghana would be a naked dictatorship of which fierce resistance or apathy would have occasioned.
Moreover, partisan politics is a vehicle to wheedle ideological influence which is the main essence of leadership. Thus a true political leadership enhances nation building. God for instance used Joseph and Daniel to respectively shaped nations of Egypt and Babylon. Yet some self-professed Christians perceive chieftaincy as a reserve of idol worshippers and the uneducated. And partisan politics as a dirty game which should only be played by dishonest idiots! This sounds like setting up a committee comprising dogs to formulate and implement moral policies. Praying for such dogs will do little. Don’t get me wrong; it is good to pray for our leaders and nation. But it is highly hypocritical and contradictory to pray for the flourishing of something you think is evil. Is it not the case that all authorities are ordained by God?
“All that is necessary for the victory of the evil,” in the words of Edmund Burke, “is that the good men do nothing”. For Roland Mensah, “If Christianity is the motivating factor in our lives, then it should affect our societal relationships, our view of the political system and our commitment to redeem the society in which we live. We should become involved, concerned about, and dedicated to, the principle of orderly change within our governmental system”. Martin Luther says, “If our (Christians) speaking fails to address the precise point at which the world of our time aches, we are not really preaching the Word”.

Richard Obeng Mensah, author of If You Think of Your Opposition You Lose Your Position.