‘Make morality the cornerstone of dev’

BY: Jasmine Arku
Rt. Rev. Dr Robert Aboagye-Mensah, former Presiding Bishop, Methodist Church.

Ghanaians should consciously make morality an essential ingredient for nation building because every effort will fail if development is dependent on people who are corrupt, the former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the Most Reverend Dr Robert Aboagye-Mensah, has stated.

He said no nation could actually make it if the foundation was built on corruption; it would collapse and have an overwhelming negative impact.

On the contrary, every nation that took morality seriously would be building a strong foundation.

Public lecture

Speaking at a public lecture at the Mount Zion Methodist Church at Dome, Accra, the former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana said even the founders of the country believed firmly that the well-being of the nation depended on moral integrity whether they were Christians or not.

The lecture was on the topic: ‘’About 70 per cent of Ghanaians profess to be Christians. What has been the moral impact of this on the Ghanaian Society?”.

The annual lecture is part of efforts by the New Achimota Circuit Men’s Fellowship to stimulate discussions on contemporary issues to shape national discourse.

Most Rev. Dr Aboagye-Mensah said “the national anthem makes Ghana one of the few countries which acknowledges God as the source of its foundation and goes on to affirm that it is the morality of the people which is the categorically imperative  factor that makes the nation strong, adding that “if that fails, the nation fails.”

Democracy and morality

Most Rev.Dr Aboagye-Mensah said after experimenting with several political systems, Ghana, like many countries, settled on democracy, with all its weaknesses, as the best human form of governance.

However, the irony was that a democratic system by itself did not create the moral deeds or virtues.

On the contrary, he said, it needed morality to survive in the sense that the system thrived on seeking the interests of the partisan groups.

“But it is important to realise that whether a democratic system of governance will work and the expectation of the people will be met will depend to a large extent on the moral character and discipline of both the rulers and the ruled.

“To put it simply, democracy encourages selfishness as an institution, whether for the individual or for the group that belonged to the party. It may thus encourage playing on the party functionalism, ethnicity and its related ethnocentricism in order to gain and maintain power,” he said.

He quoted Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi’s, in his work, “Rethinking the Winner takes All System,’’ to buttress the point that whenever there was a changeover of power in Ghana, something interesting happened, in that the democratic change only rewarded party functionaries.

Dr Aboagye-Mensah, however, stressed that it took morality again to uphold and implement the checks and balances built within democratic system, since it revolved round the notion that while human beings were moral and would do the right thing,  they could also do the wrong things at the same time and should, therefore, be checked.

Sadly in Ghana, he stated, “we have found ways and means of weakening the checks and balances.”

Moral impact of the 70%

Most Rev. Dr Aboagye-Mensah said since democracy needed moral beings to make it work, the Church had the responsibility to supply those moral beings, as the democratic system had to look beyond itself for the necessary virtues for the system to promote justice and fairness.

“It is in this area of the creation of moral beings for the democratic governance that the Church has an important role to play”.

“The Church has the moral responsibility as the 70 per cent for the 30 per cent to join us to ensure that all weaknesses within the democratic system are addressed for the betterment of the nation.”