Church Leader in Ghana Urges Citizens to Prioritize Peace ahead of December Polls
CANAA || By Damian Avevor, Ghana || 13 October 2016
The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, has called on Ghanaians to make peace the number one priority as the country prepares to go to the polls on December 7.
Bishop Osei-Bonsu made the appeal Monday, October 10, at the opening of GCBC Plenary Assembly taking place Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana under the theme: Reconciliation with God, Humanity and nature In the Year of Mercy.
“We should always remember that we have only one country called Ghana and that this country is the only home that we have,” Bishop Osei-Bonsu said, urging Ghana citizens to protect the peace that the country has enjoyed to date.
The Bishop insisted that Ghanaians do not want to experience violence before, during and after the elections.
20 active Bishops of Ghana are attending the 10-day Plenary Assembly.
Also present during the official opening of the Assembly were many dignitaries including Mr. Abadallah Abubakar, Northern Regional Minister and Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), who chaired the opening ceremony.
Bishop Osei-Bonsu said that there were a number of countries on the continent that had experience war and Ghana would not want to share in the unpleasant experience of the people living in such countries.
The consequences of war, he noted, were well known which included the destruction of precious human lives and property, fear, the phenomenon of refugees, and added, “We do not want to be refugees in our neighbouring countries.”
He appealed to Ghanaians to avoid actions and inflammatory utterances that have the potential to incite people to violence and war, asking them “to avoid tribal politics and let politicians try to win votes on the basis of good messages that they will present rather than by vote buying.”
Dilating on the theme of the Plenary, the Bishop said reconciliation was necessary today in our country as we celebrate the Jubilee year of Mercy proclaimed by the Holy father Pope Francis.
He noted that reconciliation was also necessary for all kinds of people who felt that they had been wronged and was also necessary between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, rival political parties, Parish Priests and Curates, Priests and Bishops, Priests and lay faithful.
He added that “As Christians, we must also espouse reconciliation with nature and must indeed have mercy on Mother Nature. God is the author of creation and we believe that what he created was good.”
Reconciliation between God and mankind is something that the Bible speaks about, especially in the Letters of St. Paul, noting that “We all need God’s mercy because of our sins and the Church had the responsibility to reconcile man to man and man to God.”
He said God had entrusted humankind with the responsibility of being in charge of creation and taking care of all creatures and their habitat, lamenting that there was rapid rate of deforestation in Ghana as a result of excessive lumbering of timber, the clearing of the land for new farmland, the extraction of firewood and the production of charcoal and poles.
He reviewed the activities and achievements of the GCBC from November last year to date, saying that a lot of progress had been made as the Conference met the Catholic Parliamentarians to discuss important national issues including the Constitution Review Process, the National Health Insurance Scheme, corruption in the country and the Plant Breeders’ Bill.