The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, has slammed the Deputy Majority Leader for suggesting that the country's religious leaders were dabbling in partisan politics.
Mr Rashid Pelpuo, speaking on news analysis programme, Newfile on Joy FM and Multi-TV Saturday, said some of the country's religious leaders had taken positions on divisive political issues.
Commenting on a Communique issued by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana which in part appealed to the Electoral Commission to suspend the creation of some 45 new constituencies, a position supported by other religious leaders, Mr. Pelpuo said whilst the religious leaders were entitled to express their views on national issues, calling the EC to take an action which will further the interests of some political groups raised many questions.
“Why are they trying to bring religion into politics, why are they trying to create confusion in the minds of people”? he asked.
But Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, speaking on the Super Morning Show Monday rebuked the Deputy Majority Leader for his comments, describing them as “unfortunate.”
“I think it is very unfortunate,” he said insisting the intentions of the Ghana Conference on Religion and Peace (GCRP) which is intervening in the matter of the creation of the constituencies were noble.
“Please spare us...statements such as ‘stay out of politics,’ because we are also stakeholders of Ghana, we represent constituencies, we are very much concerned about what happens in this country and we have not taken any sides,” he stated.
Most Rev. Asante explained that the religious groups were not just engaged in uninformed commentary on national issues but were rather seeking to hear from all sides in the contentious issue of the 45 new constituencies.
He said the GCRP had called Dr Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission to brief members on issues pertaining to the creation of the constituents and from their discussions with him, they concluded that, “the way forward was for us to also call the political parties – NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC and the PPP” to hear their arguments.
The parties, he added, gave thumbs up to the idea of the religious bodies playing an intermediary role to find an amicable solution to the issue.
“We are doing all these things not on partisan grounds but in the interest of the nation of which we are part. The statement that they keep saying ‘stay out of politics’, I don’t know what [that means],” Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante said.
“What is wrong with religious bodies coming together and saying that let us listen to both sides and plead with them that lets come to a consensus?”, he asked.
The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana wondered why the groups should be bashed for trying to get an amicable solution to a divisive national issue.
“Are we wrong” for trying to build consensus in the matter? “Do we need bashing”? he asked rhetorically.