The Methodist Bishop of Accra, the Rt Rev. Samuel Kofi Osabutey, has called on Ghanaians to be thankful to God for the governance system they are enjoying, although there is still much to be done to improve it.
The bishop made the call in a sermon at the burial service for the late former President Jerry John Rawlings at the Black Star Square in Accra yesterday.
"Was Jerry a saint? Certainly not; Jerry was a sinner who took the risk to attempt to right the wrongs of society as he perceived them. Being a sinner, then, one can understand and forgive those excesses of the regime he led. As we reflect on his life and legacy, we should at least be thankful to God for the governance system we are now all enjoying," he added.
Rt Rev. Osabutey said as people reflected on Rawlings’s life, “we can all come to varied conclusions, depending on our viewing point”, adding that the former President was a man who was loved and hated, devoted to and betrayed, consulted and rejected.
Citing various writers and books to buttress his points, he said the fact that the late President named his first daughter Zanetor, meaning “the darkness must cease”, should, perhaps, give us a perspective on his philosophy of life.
The event attracted a host of dignitaries, including some African Heads of State.
The theme of his sermon was: “The stewardship of leadership or power”.
The bishop described leadership as the art of combining ideas, people, things, time and faith to achieve predetermined objectives; the exercise of power.
“On the other hand, stewardship is the recognition that all we are — our life, what we own, time, talent and treasure — belong to a Sovereign Creator, God. And that God expects us to one day account for these.
“Stewardship of leadership is the recognition that one owes one’s power and authority to lead, to a Sovereign God,” he said, adding: “If all authority, including civil power, is derived from God, then it is important that those who wield power do so in trust.”
Rt Rev. Osabutey further said “civil rulers were God’s servants for the good of the governed. Politicians and office bearers are to execute their Judiciary, Executive, Legislative or administrative offices only for the good of the citizens. This fact also holds true for traditional and religious office holders”.
According to him, any political, religious or traditional authority worth its salt needed to conform to the liberating power of the Kingdom of God, as revealed in Christ Jesus.
Abuse of power, he said, was the outcome of lack of realisation that human authorities — be they civil or religious — were derived from God and were subservient to Him.
“If we submit to the authority of Jesus, He will give us the new perspective to be better stewards of leadership and power. Papa J, with all his faults, has served his generation,” he added.
• From left: former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament; Mr Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister of Niger; Mrs Samira Bawumia, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and the Liberian President, George Weah bidding the late former President farewell at the Black Star Square. Pictures: EBOW HANSON, SAMUEL TEI ADANO & Courtesy: GHANA ARMED FORCES
• President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries with former President John Mahama
• Ashes to ashes..... Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings saying bye bye to her late husband
• Pallbearers carrying the remains of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings at the Black Star Square