, 02 November, 2019 / 2:10 AM
Against the backdrop of a strike involving members of Ghana’s Technical Universities Teachers Association (TUTAG) and Technical Universities Administrators Association of Ghana (TUAAG) that has paralyzed programs in institutions of higher learning in the West African country, a Church leader has urged professionals who have downed their tools and Ghanaians in general to “work for the common good through self-sacrifice.”
While recognizing the possible legitimacy of the demands of the striking professionals, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Cape Coast in Ghana wondered whether “it has ever occurred to anyone of those on strike to ask who really suffers the brunt in the long run.”
“Thinking for the common good should be seen as the best decision that will bring positive and beneficial results,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said and added, “It is the students who, when the lecturers have been satisfied someway, will be given packed lectures in very few weeks and in some way expected to pass their exams.”
He was addressing participants who were part of the second edition of “Faith in the Public Sphere series” Tuesday, October 29 in Accra, Ghana, an event organized by the Arrupe Jesuit Institute of Accra in collaboration with the Catholic Professional Guild.
Speaking to a wider context beyond the striking TUTAG and TUAAG members, the immediate former Archbishop of Accra observed, “In Ghana, it is not unusual that even doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers go on strike to press home demands for better conditions of service, salaries, allowances.”
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle who is also the Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) encouraged his compatriots “to work for the common good through self-sacrifice.”
In an exclusive interview with ACI Africa at the sidelines of the Tuesday event, the Director of the Arrupe Jesuit Institute, Fr. Kpanie Addy, S.J said that the motivation behind the forum was to explore ways of integrating faith into professional life.
“The whole idea of the Faith in the Public Sphere programme is trying to see how to interface our Christian faith with our professional work as Christians,” Fr. Kpanie told ACI Africa correspondent and added, “that our faith has ramifications beyond our churches, it has to have an influence on our society.”
“This is about how Christians in the public sphere can be the salt of the earth and light of the world,” the Jesuit priest emphasized.
Reflecting on the theme of the event targeting communication professionals, ‘Communicating for the Common Good: Challenges and Prospects in Ghana,’ the Jesuit priest said as the organizers, they wanted to see “how communication, taking place in Ghana today can be focused and directed at achieving the common good, a key principle of Catholic social teaching.”
On the importance of communicating for the common good, Mawuena Trebarh, a Communication Consultant said he views communication as a tool that “must influence the common good and should be used to change the mind-set of people about things.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kenneth Edem Ashigbey, noted that to effectively communicate for the common good, people must be fair.
“Ghanaians must be ready to say I will not compare my side’s best with the other side’s worst. I will not assume the worst motives in my opponents. I will acknowledge the upsides and downsides of all positions. I will praise my counterparts when they deserve it, and challenge my allies when they deserve it,” Ashigbey said.
The first edition of the “Faith in the Public Sphere series” was organised in March 2019 and focused on professionals in the financial sector and Christian ethics in the financial sector.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa