Elections are never a “do or die” affair – Bishops

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference has underscored the need for all political parties in the country to conduct their campaigns in an atmosphere of piece, decency and decorum to avoid violence in the run up to the 2016 polls.

The President of the Conference, The Most Reverend Joseph Osei –Bonsu , who made the call in his keynote address at the annual preliminary session of the body held in Bolgatanga, observed that the country’s political temperature had started rising too early.

Most Reverend Osei–Bonsu who is also the Catholic Bishop of Konongo–Mampong, cautioned political parties that “elections are never a do or die affair”, and called on all Ghanaians to refrain from acts that were likely to mar the peaceful conduct of the 2016 general election.

“Whilst the Bishops Conference will put in place a mechanism to monitor the elections to help to ensure that they are free, fair, transparent and credible. We entreat all Ghanaians to refrain from acts that are likely to mar the peaceful conduct of the election”, he emphasised.

Recounting some of the achievement of the Catholic Bishops Conference, he stated that the Conference in collaboration with the Christian Council of Ghana worked to find an amicable solution to the impasse between the Ghana Medical Association and the Government over conditions of service.

He mentioned the Conference’s contributions to important national issues including the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Church –State Partnership in Education, the elimination of the death penalty from Ghana’s statute books, the Ebola Viral Disease , the Plant breeder bill and corruption, among others.

Touching on the theme of the Conference, “The Laity in the Context of Evangelization”, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Theb Most Reverend Jean Marie Speich , said there was a challenge in the new evangelism in Africa, particularly Ghana.

He indicated that the new evangelization particularly concerned the Church’s role in bringing about reconciliation, peace, and justice in all forms.

“The new Evangelization demands that Christians be reconciled with their neighbours , and that every kind of barrier should be overcome, including those arising from language, culture , race, tribe as well as social status”, he said.

The Apostolic Nuncio impressed upon the laity, men, women and the youth in the Church to show full commitment and help in the promotion of reconciliation, peace and justice in their everyday endeavours.

The Catholic Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese, The Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, in his welcome address said although the Catholic Church had over the past initiated a number of development projects to compliment the government’s efforts in the region, there was the need for the Government to draw up pragmatic policies to help fast-track the developmental gap between the North and the South.

The Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Daniel Syme, who expressed concern about the exploitation of the people by some pastors, indicated that instead of engaging in such negative activities, the clergy should use their pulpits to reform the people, particularly on corruption.

The Conference began on November 6 and is expected to end on November 14. At the end of the deliberations it is expected to issue a communiqué that would reflect on the development of the Church and the nation as a whole. GNA

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