The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle has expressed disappointment over the nature of national debates which he said are extremely partisan.
“Sometimes when you hear political discourse, you feel a little bit sad because you ask yourself is that why we voted for Parliamentarians there?” he asked.
Arch Bishop Palmer-Buckle believes Ghana’s progress has stalled because various political stakeholders are only interested in pursuing their personal interest.
According to him, “Ghana has gotten to the point of society where people have taken sides just because they belong to a particular political party.”
“… Just because I belong to this political party anything that comes from this other side is wrong. That is how we cripple the country and unfortunately when another government comes, they undo everything that has been done and we begin from scratch. Are we fools? That is why we are not moving forward,” he said.
The Arch-Bishop, therefore, suggested the creation of a national agenda that will fairly measure government’s performance and propel it to work harder.
“We need a national agenda, that come high or low that is the measure by which any government performance should be measured and move the country forward. Unfortunately, we don’t have it. It is only political manifestos and [each] political manifesto is aimed at enhancing their own political agenda that is wrong. How many times have we not been striving for a national agenda?”
He counselled various stakeholders to target our “own politicians who belong to our church, pick them one by one, sit them down and ask them” about their intentions.
“We need to ask them where do you think you are leading this country and if it is wrong, tell politicians correctly behind close doors please we cannot continue like this.”
Palmer-Buckle further counselled Ghanaians to continually pray for the President and his government and refrain from criticising his administration.
“Pray for the country. I mean the scripture has it that we should pray for the country. If we don’t pray for the country then we have no reason to blame those who are in charge if they are messing it up.
“We have got to pray for them. There is not a single day that I don’t mention the name of the President of the country. Since I remember, I always mention their name because they must be prayed for; for guidance and pray to God also to guide us to be able to follow what they are saying …”
The Arch-Bishop also commented on the recent Nayele cocaine scandal that hit the nation, saying, “If 12.5 kilos of cocaine managed to pass through our Airport out of the country then you should be able to imagine that there are thousands of kilos floating in the country.”
He observed that politicians were only interested “in who took what, when and how” when the news broke, instead of being concerned about the danger it posed to the citizenry.
“And you would have wanted to hear the politicians discussing how do we seal the entry points, how do we make sure that our youth are not exposed, what are the dangers that politicians are going through? That is not what they were worried about, they were only worried about who took what…
“Now when you have so much cocaine in the country. The youth are in danger…it means the person [drug baron] has more money than even your government has and they can manipulate our government …”
Palmer-Buckle was also saddened by Parliament’s decision to import chairs from China to furnish the chamber of the Ghanaian legislator.
He wondered why government refused to contract local manufacturers especially at a period when it was pushing the agenda for made in Ghana goods to be patronized.
“”I had a beef with the issue of Parliament ordering chairs from China. I felt very sad…you say we should cherish made in Ghana goods, we should encourage Ghanaian industry..? We have many young people who are jobless and there are furniture companies in this country that can produce furniture for this country. You go there and, unfortunately, some of the Chairs are even breaking down.”
Supporting his claim, Palmer-Buckle stated that “in Bahamas, the Chair of the Speaker of Parliament was given by Kwame Nkrumah in 1962 and they still pride themselves that this is wood or furniture made from Ghana and given to their country.”
In November 2014, Parliament imported luxurious chairs from China to stock its Chamber despite an advice by President Mahama to patronize made in Ghana products.
Many Ghanaians hit hard at government for taking such a decision, describing the move as unforgivable.