Election 2024: Don’t weaponise religious, ethnic backgrounds - Christian Council to aspirants

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has cautioned presidential and parliamentary aspirants to desist from the use of their religious and ethnic backgrounds as weapons against their opponents during the election campaign.

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The caution is to prevent unnecessary tension in the country in the up-coming 2024 general election. It said the country had chosen the democratic path, and therefore, aspirants and the public must avoid any action or conversation that could inflame religious or ethnic passions leading to chaos in the society.

Additionally, the Christian Council cautioned Ghanaians against voting for political leaders who would use money to influence them in the up-coming general election, adding that citizens must desist from choosing political leaders on the basis of “high bidder” as it had the tendency of retarding the progress and development of the country.

Eminent Persons Group

The General Secretary of CCG, Rev. Dr Cyril Fayose, articulated the caution of the Christian Council in Accra yesterday at the inauguration of the Eminent Persons Group for the 2024 elections.

He said the council as a Christian organisation, “vehemently condemns the use of money to buy votes during both intra and inter-party elections as it is unethical and undermines the freedom and justice we seek in our nation”.

Rev. Dr Fayose expressed the belief of the council that it was God’s will to have, not only a good government, but also a good governance system that would protect the freedoms and rights of all the citizenry, no matter their social or financial status.

That was necessary for the promotion of socioeconomic development.

Rev. Dr Fayose, therefore, stressed the need for the Eminent Persons Group to engage political leaders to show quality leadership and refrain from using money to influence voters during elections.

Group

The Eminent Persons Group comprises eminent religious leaders drawn from the two main religious traditions for the sole purpose of promoting peace before, during and after elections.

The 15-member group would be co-chaired by the Most Rev. Dr Paul Kwabena Boafo and Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, with members including the Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rt Rev. Dr Hilliard Dela Dogbe; Pastor Emmanuel Okai, Colonel Seth Agyei Appeateng, Rev. Dr Fayose, and Rt Rev. Dr Abraham Nana Opare Kwakye, all of CCG.

The others are representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Rev. Fr Michael Kobina Ackon Quaicoe; the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, the Deputy Ameer of the Ahamidiyya Muslim Mission, Ahmed Suleman Anderson, representing the Muslim community, and Rev. Enoch Thompson, representing the Ghana Baptist Convention.

The inauguration was witnessed by the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare. Rev. Dr Fayose said the group traditionally had provided guidance, issued statements and acted as mediators or arbiters in tense moments during pre and post-election activities.

“As we approach election 2024, we are confronted by a myriad of critical issues that necessitate the constitution of the Eminent Persons Group,” he said.

Agenda for elections

The Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Corporate Services, Dr Eric Bossman Asare, said the commission was on course to ensure a smooth election exercise.

He shared the agenda of the EC towards the elections which included a mop-up registration exercise from August 1 to 10 and the exhibition of the of the Voters register from August 20 to 27.

The EC would also receive nomination from aspirants from September 9, Dr Asare said. Dr Dampare, for his part, said the police were ready for the election and would provide the necessary security for a peaceful election. He appealed to journalists and media outlets to desist from spreading fake news to prevent violence.

The Chairman of CCG called for support for the EC and Security agencies to do their work effectively. He also said Ghanaians, especially political actors, must embrace divergent views and see their opponents as partners in development. 

Background

The Christian Council of Ghana was established on October 30, 1929 to, among other things, unite churches, promote interfaith harmony and address issues of national concern.

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