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Four Concerns Christian Leaders in Ghana Want Addressed for Peace, Harmony, Justice

Members of of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) and Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) during their annual joint meeting at the Saint James Catholic Church, Osu, Accra. Credit: GCBC

Christian leaders in Ghana have, in a collective statement at the end of their Annual Joint Meeting, outlined four concerns, which they want addressed in view of achieving peace, harmony and Justice in the West African nation.

In the joint statement issued Friday, May 7, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) and Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) highlight compliance with code of conduct in mission schools, the activities of spiritualists and the get-rich-quick syndrome, illegal mining, and the COVID-19 pandemic as issues of concern that need to be addressed.

The leadership of the CCG and GCBC “followed with keen interest the discussions about the authorities of Wesley Girls Senior High School, who allegedly prevented a student from fasting in the ongoing Ramadan.”

Last month, a Muslim parent stormed Wesley Girls High School in Ghana’s Cape Coast city to withdraw his child from the school arguing that the institution does not permit Muslims to fast, Ghanaweb reported.

The incident attracted condemnation from several institutions with the leadership of the Methodist Church of Ghana calling on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to “respect the long-standing partnership between Government and Mission Schools.”

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In their May 1 response, GES officials directed “authorities of Wesley Girls High School, as well as any other school, to allow any such student who wishes to fast for any religious reason to do so.”

The leadership of CCG and GCBC has endorsed “the position of the Methodist Church Ghana, which they succinctly outlined in their May 4, 2021 Press release, and reiterate that the decision of the Wesley Girls Senior High School authorities on fasting is purely in the interest of the students.”

“We respectfully wish to state that the Ministry of Education, GES or any other stakeholder must not undermine the Codes of Conduct of the various Mission Schools, which have ensured their discipline and high academic standards for almost two centuries in Ghana,” the religious leaders say in their May 7 message shared with ACI Africa.

They add, “We expect all who attend our Mission Schools to comply with the Codes of Conduct of the schools, so that the discipline and high academic standards can be upheld.”

In the interest of peace and harmony in the West African nation, the members of CCG and GCBC call for “dialogue by stakeholders on matters that affect the administration of Mission Schools in our country.”

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In their May 7 statement issued at St. James Osu Catholic Church of Accra Archdiocese, Ghana’s Christian leaders express their concerns about the “get-rich-quick syndrome in our nation for which reason individuals believe that they have to make money by any means.”

“We have observed that the activities of spiritualists who promise to make people rich through their TV, radio and other social media platforms have contributed to fueling the ‘get- rich-quick’ syndrome,” the members of CCG and GCBC note in their collective statement.

It is important for the Government and all citizens to see “the moral, psychological, social and economic havoc, which these spiritualists are causing our nation,” the Christian leaders say, and appeal to the relevant state institutions and agencies to “act speedily to deal with these worrying developments.”  

“We call on all stakeholders, especially the regulators of our media space, to clamp down on the activities of fraudulent spiritualists and their agents who through their audio-visual content continue to propagate evils and their ‘get­ rich–quick’ activities on our television stations and social media platforms,” they appeal.

Making reference to the Book of Deuteronomy, the church leaders call on Ghanaians to “appreciate the need for hard work, honesty, values, integrity and the desire for genuine acquisition of wealth.”

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In their collective statement, CCG and GCBC members decry illegal mining saying the practice that is also known as “galamsey” has been going on despite efforts to stop it.

“On our various pastoral and social visits to some localities, we see the destruction of forests and the cutting down of cash crops for the purpose of galamsey,” the church leaders say, and add, “The galamsey menace has polluted our land (soil) and water bodies with chemicals like mercury, chlorine, cyanide and arsenic (which are harmful to human).”

They call on the Ghanaian government, concerned agencies and institutions, and members of the public to “be bold and courageous to sustain the campaign against illegal mining.” 

“We demand that any individual, security service personnel, politician or chief found to be working to thwart the fight against illegal mining face the full rigors of the law,” they further say.

They encourage faith-based leaders to “continue their advocacy against illegal mining” and urge traditional leaders to “use their authority to ban galamsey in their jurisdictions to avoid further destruction of our natural resources.”

The leaders advocate for the Green Ghana Project initiated by the country’s President to plant five million trees saying the initiative “has the potential to reverse the dreadful loss of our forest cover while contributing to mitigating climate change impact in Ghana.”

CCG and GCBC members further say that they are concerned about the non–adherence of some Ghanaians to the COVID-19 protocols. 

“We wish to appeal to our fellow citizens to observe religiously all the COVID–19 hygienic protocols. Let us all stay safe by wearing our face masks, observing social distancing, washing our hands regularly under running water with soap and also use the hand sanitizer frequently,” they urge.

The government needs to do everything possible to “get the needed vaccines for the various target groups of the nation as planned and to secure the second dosage for those who have had their first vaccinations to complete the process,” the church leaders say.

“We believe that vaccination is an act of good neighborliness, which is a mark of good Christian spirituality. When one accepts the vaccine, one does not only protect oneself from getting the disease but also protects others by stopping transmission,” they explain, encouraging all Ghanaians to “avail themselves for their vaccination when the time comes.”

Reflecting on the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) scheduled for June 28 – July 11 in Ghana, the leadership of CCG and GCBC “humbly appeals to all citizens of our country to avail themselves for counting.”

“We call on all Christians not to shy away from the Census but to see it as an opportunity to exercise their civic responsibility and to help in the developmental planning of the nation,” they say.

They assure all Ghanaians that they plan to “continue our public education, Christian advocacy and prayers for peace, harmony, and justice in Ghana.”

“In doing so, we will continue to be non-partisan and be guided by the principles of the Holy Bible. We wish all Ghanaians well in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” CCG and GCBC members say in their May 7 collective statement.