Most Rev. Philip Naameh
The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to remain an unbiased umpire in order to restore confidence in the electoral system.
“It should not be the case of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’”.
This was contained in a 2020 Lenten Pastoral Letter signed by its President, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, who is also the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale.
The letter was on the theme “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled with God” (2 Cor 5:20).
It appealed to the EC to conduct free, fair and transparent elections on December 7, 2020, when the country would be going to the polls to elect a President and parliamentarians.
“All the political parties are to be given a fair and a level playing field to contest the upcoming elections,” it stated.
It also appealed to all political parties and their members to support and respect the independence and verdicts of the Electoral Commission, stressing that, “we encourage all the stakeholders to continue to use the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) sessions to engage the EC on their grievances.”
The letter called on all Christians of voting age to exercise their civic responsibilities in the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
That, it said, would be following the footsteps of Jesus who did not shun his civil duties hence the need for all Christians to actively participate in the elections.
“We need to exercise our franchise conscientiously during the elections to secure a better country for tomorrow. We need to eschew the vote buying syndrome and vote according to our conscience,” it said.
The letter appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the security agencies to provide the necessary and conducive environment devoid of fear, intimidation and hooliganism.
It said when people were not sure of their safety, they would not risk their lives to vote.
“Every human life is sacrosanct and needs to be protected. It is the duty of all Ghanaians to work hard to uphold the sanctity of human life before, during and after the forthcoming elections,” it said.
It said the security agencies should, therefore, be on top of the situation by being tactful and practical to prevent electoral insecurity.
It said digital technologies had added zest to the ability of people to communicate, saying “in this age, everybody is a journalist.”
The letter urged Ghanaians to use the social media, Internet, mobile phones and other tools in a more positive and better way.
“These devices are not to be used to fuel hate and violent speeches. Violence is the antithesis of peace and it prides itself on the sword. Jesus tells us: “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt 26:52).
“Today, the sword can take the form of multiple registration, multiple voting, vigilantism, “macho” men who intimidate and steal ballot boxes, using the digital media to write and propagate damaging things,” it stressed.
It noted that the violent show of passion obstructs peace and made harmony a difficult thing to achieve.