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19 June 2016

Concerned clergymen caution Christian Council over EC statement

Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Opuni FrimpongThe Concerned Clergymen Association of Ghana (CCAG) has condemned what it describes as interference in political activities by the Christian Council of Ghana and the Council of Charismatic Churches.

The group says the action of the two bodies in recent times constitutes an embarrassment to the entire Christian community, especially when they are expected to play a neutral role to earn the respect of society.

The CCAG was responding to a recent joint communique issued by the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Charismatic Council which called on the Electoral Commission to implement the Supreme Court’s directive and delete the names of people who registered with NHIS cards.

President of the Association, Bishop Prince Benny Wood, who spoke on behalf of his group on Okay FM on Thursday, asked if the Christian Council led by Reverend Dr. Emmanuel Opuni Frimpong clearly understands the ruling.

He also wondered if all members of the Association really endorsed the communique that was issued over the weekend.

Referring to “1st Chronicles 12:32 of the Bible, which reads; ..“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment”.., Bishop Benny Wood explained that even in those difficulties, Israel had a way of dealing with the issues. He argued that even Counsel of the Plaintiffs in the case claimed the ruling was ambiguous and they are back in court to seek an interpretation.

He added that the EC was also clear on its position and said it is already implementing aspects of the directive. The President of the Concerned Clergymen Association said because the bone of contention is about the NHIS card bearers whose names are on the register, it is unfair for any third party to take sides.

The Concerned Clergymen said the Christian Council should rather have advised Abu Ramadan and his group to go back to the Supreme Court for interpretation as was indicated by Justice Jones Dotse, a member of the Supreme Court panel which sat on the case.

He noted that the EC does not take directives from the Christian Council and any statement that seem to back the demand by one group with an entrenched position is a recipe for chaos.

“The constitution is clear that EC does not take instructions from anybody. So if the Christian Council thinks its members do not understand the ruling, they could have sought interpretation rather than meddling in politics. Does it mean it does not care about the positions of those involved in the case? It’s very unfortunate” Bishop Benny Wood noted.

He said, “I would like to read the minutes of the meeting that concluded the communique issued. I don’t think it reflects what was really discussed. They are rather stoking fire. It’s not right. That’s divisive.”

He concluded that the action by Reverend Opuni Frimpong and few others feeds into the narrative that is discrediting the Electoral Commission’s work and personality of the Chairman. He wondered why the Christian Council will join an agenda to damage the reputation of an institution of the state.

Earlier this week, Deputy General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho described the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), Rev Dr. Opuni-Frimpong and few of his colleagues as NPP moles in cassock who masterminded the communiqué calling on the EC to implement Supreme Court ruling.

Mr. Anyidoho called on Rev Dr. Opuni-Frimpong to direct his attention to the reckless and warmongering statement from the NPP’s Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu for deciding to declare their results ahead of the EC; thus, it is only when he consider him to be fair and non-partisan.

Pollster Ben Ephson who also commented on the issue on Accra FM said, “I do not think we should underestimate the intelligence of the average Ghanaian. Being a Christian – I am a member of those two bodies – it doesn’t mean I do not understand it. The Christian Council of Ghana says EC should implement the ruling. But if the one who took the matter to court and was claiming victory now says he doesn’t understand it, does the Christian Council of Ghana understand it better than he does?”

Meanwhile, former National Youth Organizer of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) Abu Ramadan, is back at the Supreme Court to seek clarification on the May 5 ruling which supposedly ordered the Electoral Commission to remove names of persons who were registered on the nation’s electoral roll, with the National Health Insurance (NHIS) card as a form of identification.

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