Former President John Mahama has said he has received complaints from the leadership of the Christian community in Ghana about the attacks on some of them by appointees of the Akufo-Addo government, for speaking their mind and calling out social ills.
At a ceremony to introduce his running mate Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang to the leadership of the Christian community in Accra on Wednesday, 12 August 2020, the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said: “Indeed, I have received complaints from men of God to call the government to order in its unfair treatment and sometimes targeted attacks on them for speaking out against injustice”.
“Like all institutions, churches have regulatory bodies with laid-down procedures to address Christian leaders if there is a feeling that they have erred in any way”, Mr Mahama noted.
He admonished that: “If you respect the law and decency, you will follow the right channels to seek redress; you do not send your party members to rain insults and terror on people who hold views that you do not find complimentary to government”.
Mr Mahama congratulated the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) “for boldly coming out to defend its own”, adding: “When the appointing authority turns a blind eye to persecution of such Christian leaders, it only emboldens certain elements working for the government to extend their terror on others because they know they will probably be rewarded for their mercenary work in cowering decent people into silence”.
He said “as citizens of your own country, and not illegal residents, you should be able to speak your mind freely like it has been in the past and not be terrified as it is happening today”.
Read Mr Mahama’s full speech below:
ADDRESS BY HE JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA, FLAGBEARER OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS AT A CEREMONY TO INTRODUCE HIS RUNNING MATE, PROFESSOR NAANA JANE OPOKU-AGYEMANG TO THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
National Chairman Our revered men of God
My brothers and sisters in Christ
I am most delighted to be here with you, together with my Running Mate, Professor Naana Jane OpokuAgyemang, as well as the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The term ‘Opposition’ these days seem to have acquired a rather pejorative slant, so let me say that as leader of the biggest alternative Government-in-Waiting, one that is ready to serve, I wish to express my utmost appreciation to you all for this opportunity to be with you this morning.
The purpose of our coming is, to formally present to you my Running Mate for the 2020 elections, seek your blessings and prayer as we head into the elections of December 2020. As you are no doubt aware, over 71% of our 30-plus million population is Christian and this for me underscores the huge responsibility you have as leaders in terms of moulding morally sound and ethically driven citizens, as well as providing spiritual guidance, teachings and prayers. In the short period of time, between March and July, when churches were unfortunately closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence of the church in the lives of the population has been most telling.
Your mandate as key stakeholders and development agents in our country is therefore crucial, especially with regards to the future of this great country we all love and call our own. There have been some unfortunate developments in our country over the last few years that I am sure you have noticed, even if you may not have publicly talked about them.
Without mincing words, I must state that we have lost our way, and today, our country is at the crossroads in our democratic dispensation.
We used to be the shining light and point of reference in Africa when it comes to the independence and integrity of our democratic institutions.
Today, all those gains we proudly achieved as a people, as a country, have been eroded, setting us back 28 years. A few days ago, I talked about the tragedy that has befallen us. Permit me to restate: This particular tragedy is in the destruction and politicization of our institutions. A judiciary that lacks impartiality, an oppressed Parliament, a pliant Electoral Commission, an Auditor General hounded out of office, a misused military, anticorruption institutions in bondage, an intimidated media, and a terrified moral society. Let me also add that, not stopping there, the future generation of young people that we are nurturing, teaching and preparing to take over from us have been deliberately perverted because of the insatiable desire to stay in power at all cost.
Almost everything that we had as a people, as a country, held dear and sacred has been intentionally corrupted in furtherance of selfish political ends. But, my brothers and sisters, no matter where we have belonged on the political divide, this is the time for us to unite and act to save our country; we cannot sit silently and look on as our nation slips towards decadence.
It is not about John Mahama; it is about Ghana.
Indeed, I have received complaints from men of God to call the government to order in its unfair treatment and sometimes targeted attacks on them for speaking out against injustice.
Like all institutions, churches have regulatory bodies with laid-down procedures to address Christian leaders if there is a feeling that they have erred in any way.
If you respect the law and decency, you will follow the right channels to seek redress; you do not send your party members to rain insults and terror on people who hold views that you do not find complimentary to government.
I congratulate the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council for boldly coming out to defend its own.
When the appointing authority turns a blind eye to persecution of such Christian leaders, it only emboldens certain elements working for the government to extend their terror on others because they know they will probably be rewarded for their mercenary work in cowering decent people into silence.
As citizens of your own country, and not illegal residents, you should be able to speak your mind freely like it has been in the past and not be terrified as it is happening today.
But as a Christian, I am encouraged by God’s word in Psalm 50: 3 – 5: “3 Our God shall come and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. 4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. 5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
My running mate, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, who I am presenting to you today, has been encouraged by the Osu Mantse to be strong and courageous in the face of, what he feared would be, a barrage of insults and attacks on her person, just because she has decided to serve her country at the highest level, help shape its destiny and ensure shared prosperity for all.
Indeed, these unprovoked attacks and insults have already started. But I can assure you and all Ghanaians that Naana Jane and myself will never engage in insults and name-calling of opponents. Children are watching, listening and copying and it is important we serve as good role models.
The book of Philippians assures me that the God who began this mission will bring it to a fruitful conclusion.
Professor Opoku-Agyemang is God-fearing, a woman of unquestionable integrity, hardworking, and a results-oriented person. She has carved a niche for herself as a distinguished scholar in Ghana, on the African continent and across the world. If you listened to her maiden address, you will find that she has a remarkable appreciation of our struggles as a nation and what it would take for us to attain the highest pedestal of human and physical development that we are capable of as a country.
Among the many achievements she chalked as Minister for Education, one that I deeply appreciated was the discipline that she brought to bear in the Education sector. Under her stewardship, teacher absenteeism reduced drastically from 27% to 7% by 2016.
It was no surprise that for four (4) consecutive years, Ghana took first place in the WASSCE exams, a position we have lost since we left government.
Together with her as my Vice President, God willing, we shall under the $10 billion #TheBigPush Infrastructural Plan complete the 200 Community Day Secondary Schools we were building and many other projects that the current government has abandoned for the benefit of Ghanaians.
Our country needs to change course from the despicable, destructive and unprincipled kind of politics we are currently witnessing.
There is so much work to do, so much to build. We cannot succeed if we abandon projects funded with taxpayers’ money just because our opponent started them; we cannot succeed if we target and destroy the businesses of people perceived to be in support of an opposition party, causing families to lose their livelihoods; we cannot succeed if instead of uniting our different people we promote intolerance and division.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, my Running Mate.
I thank you for your kind attention. May God bless us all and our homeland Ghana.