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Politics of Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

‘Election must not derail democratic gains’

Political actors in Ghana must ensure that this year’s general election does not derail the current democratic gains of the country, but rather consolidate the peace.

The Catholic bishops in the West Africa sub-region, who stated this, said, in the run-up to the general elections, “we encourage all political actors and the Ghanaian people to preserve the democratic gains of their country in order to consolidate peace.”

The call came against the backdrop of political tensions in Africa arising from manipulation of constitutions and the electoral process.

Second Plenary Assembly 2016

The bishops made the appeal at the end the Second Plenary Assembly 2016 of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) in Accra last Saturday.

The RECOWA was inaugurated in 2007, and the first plenary assembly took place in Yamoussoukro in La Cote d’Ivoire in 2012, with His Eminence Theodore Cardinal Adrien Sarr of Senegal as its first President.

The assembly, on the theme, “The new evangelisation and the specific challenges for the church, family of God in West Africa: Reconciliation, development, family life,” brought together 120 cardinals, archbishops and bishops from 16 West African countries to deliberate on the way forward for the church in the region.

Political leaders

Reading the concerns of the bishops at a press conference, the Bishop of Gbarnga in Liberia, Most Rev. Anthony Fallah Borwah called on the political leaders in the region to promote good governance and equity in the management of the common good.

He said the bishops identified bad governance, corruption and social injustice as well as failure to respect religious freedom and the imposition by the state of religion on all citizens as major concerns in the region.

Most Rev. Morwah, therefore, called on the political leaders to respect human rights and reject the culture of death, “and in the spirit of the year of mercy and of reconciliation, we urge them to commit act of appeasement and clemency.”

The Catholic family

“We call on families to rediscover their vocation as God planned and willed through the union of man and woman and to be opened to paternal and maternal responsibility,” Most Rev Borwah said.

He urged Christian families to actively resist abortion and modern contraceptives being introduced by the Western world such that, “they will build a society where peace, tolerance, dialogue and the acceptance of each other prevail.”

Youth migration

On migration, Most Rev Borwah said the bishops were concerned that a number of African youth were attracted towards uncertain horizons, sometimes at the risk of their lives.

“We exhort the youth not to lose hope, but to believe in the possibility of being successful in their lives and to realise their happiness on the African continent,” he advised.

Touching on terrorism, he said, the increasing insecurity in particular, the terrorist attacks in certain African countries was an issue that needed immediate attention.

New leadership

At the end of the assembly, the Archbishop of Djoss, Nigeria, Most Rev Ignatius Ayew Kaigama was elected as President of the RECOWA.

The Bishop of Bissau, Guinea Bissau Most Rev Jose Camnate Na Bissign and the Bishop of Agboville, La Cote d’Ivoire, Most Rev Alexi Touably Youlo as the First and Second Deputy Presidents, while the General Secretary went to Rev Fr Joseph Aka of La Cote d’Ivoire.