Some leading members of the clergy in the country are trading accusations and counter accusations at each other and publicly challenging each other’s credibility over an issue that seems to have taken a political twist.
They are the outgoing Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey and the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC) and immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante.
This was after the Presby Moderator had said that he rejected a proposal by some government officials, specifically the Deputy Minister of the Interior, James Agalga, for him (Moderator) to lobby for the Peace Council chairmanship after his nomination by the Christian Council of Ghana.
This did not seem to have gone down well with government and the Peace Council which have all come out to debunk the claim.
Addressing a press conference, Rev Asante insisted that the Constitutional Act that established the Council does not make it subject to political interference.
That, he said, was because the selection of members and the appointment of the chairperson are all done solely by selected “religious bodies and other institutions.”
He noted, “There is no way anybody can influence the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Christian Council, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission and practitioners of African Traditional Religion, etc.,” he said.
He indicated that per the Constitution in Article 70, the president is mandated to appoint the chairperson of the Council, but he did not exercise that power and that in their case, “What happened was that it is the Board that elected the Chairperson. There were processes that we went through without influence from any other person.”
According to him, since the president inaugurated the Board and its chairperson, it is assumed he nominated them.
“Under normal circumstances, we would not react to an issue that does not directly involve the National Peace Council. The Governing Council of the National Peace Council however, considers the said statement to be very unfortunate, given that it does not only undermine the Act that established the Council, but it also questions the integrity and independence of the Council collectively and its eminent members individually,” he noted.
Prof Asante therefore, insisted, “Unlike the impression created by the statement, members of the Council are not appointed by a ruling government to promote partisan interest.”
Interestingly, a statement signed by Interior Minister, Prosper Bani on Monday also challenged Rt Rev Martey to prove the alleged text message to authenticate his claim.
The Peace Council under Rev Asante has been lambasted for being in bed with government turning a blind eye on the iniquities in the country, especially on the electoral issues.
“I don’t want any political appointment that is the reason why I rejected the Peace Council appointment. I heard some people also saying ‘sack him from the Peace Council.’ I’ve never been a member and I will never ever be a member…Christian Council nominated me to be on that council. I know if I go there something will happen but that thing I don’t know,” was how Rev Martey put it at a function at Abetifi in the Eastern Region over the weekend.
According to him, “A few days to the inauguration of the Peace Council, I had a missed call; I didn’t know the person so I didn’t call back. So the person sent a text message; it was the Deputy Minister of Interior, [James] Agalga.
“First I said, ‘yes this is the Rev. Prof. Martey, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana,’ but you know something? The Holy Spirit blinded his mind so he didn’t even hear that it was the Presby moderator who was talking to him. The Holy Spirit wanted him to tell me what he had for me, to help me decide whether or not to be a member of the Peace Council. He said he had a meeting with the Minister of Interior and they both agreed that I become the chairman of the Peace Council.”
Aside that, he claimed, “…Before the inauguration of the thing itself, before members will meet for the first time, he said if you know some people give us their names so we talk to them on your behalf.”
Rt Rev Martey had earlier talked of attempts by some politicians to bribe him with an amount of $100,000, a house at the plush Trassaco Valley in Accra and a V8 four-wheel drive vehicle for him to stop commenting on critical national issues, which he rejected.