AFRICA/GHANA - First round of presidential elections: "No to elections that divide us", say the Bishops

Wednesday, 7 December 2016 politics   bishops  

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - There are 15 million voters who are called today, December 7, to the polls for the first round of presidential elections in Ghana. There are 7 nominated candidates, but the real battle is between outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama, and his main opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo. The consultation takes place at the end of a tense election campaign, marked by economic difficulties in which the Country is struggling, because of the collapse of raw materials like oil and cocoa.
"We cannot accept that the elections divide us. We need to safeguard our unity, growth, development and destiny as one people", said the Bishops of Ghana in their press release on October 14, after the annual Plenary Assembly (see Fides 21/10/2016).
"We appeal once again to politicians, members and supporters of the various political parties, during their campaigning, to avoid the temptation of making promises that they know they cannot fulfil, because this amounts to deceiving the people of Ghana. We urge them to avoid hate-filled statements and expressions that threaten revenge and vendetta. (...). Politicians should realize that their political opponents are not their enemies but neighbours who share different views".
The message criticizes "the culture of impunity which has been manifested in sections of the Ghanaian society by some individuals and groups contributes to high levels of lawlessness in the Country.
We condemn, in no uncertain terms, the sycophancy and the operations of unauthorized vigilante groups. Consequently, we state that the prevalence of so-called “machomen” who prowl around intimidating and brutalizing innocent Ghanaians should be dealt with. We have received information on the recent gruesome assault on two Catholic priests by a “machoman” at Adugyama in the Ahafo Ano South District of the Ashanti Region. We condemn this and other similar assaults. We plead with the security agencies and the judiciary to deliver justice expeditiously in this and other cases".
The Bishops also announced a National Eucharistic Congress to celebrate the 60th anniversary of national independence, on March 6, 2017, hoping that the celebrations take place in a "peaceful country". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/12/2016)