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Ghanaian call to clean up politics: The Church of England Newspaper, March 23, 2012 March 22, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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President John Atta Mills of Ghana

A Ghanaian bishop has denounced the country’s political culture, urging political leaders to refrain from trading demeaning insults and using cash and favours to buy votes.

Speaking at an ecumenical prayer service in Ho at the close of the National Week of Fasting, Prayer and Thanksgiving celebrations marking the 55th anniversary of independence, Bishop Mathias Medadues Badohu of Ho in Eastern Ghana said politicians should mend their ways.  “These supposed representatives of the people want to be seen as receptacles of power in between elections and then come baiting people on approach of elections with gifts for their votes.”

“Good service to the people should be enough to put politicians in the reckoning of voters and not gifts of money,” the bishop said according to local press accounts of the service.

Ghanaian voters were not free from blame, the bishop added, saying a culture of civic responsibility and reasoned discourse could not be imposed, but must arise from the people.

A report by the Voice of America (VOA) last week noted that since the government opened the airwaves to private broadcasters in 1994, the country’s political discourse had taken on a coarse tone with politicians trading personal jibes and radio shows permitting callers to denigrate politicians.

President John Atta Mills has called for a cease fire in the political war of words, as the country prepares for elections in December.  But the freedom to give voice to grievances over the radio has proven to be a commercial hit for radio stations.  The VOA quoted one Accra resident who actively supported one of the major political parties as saying insulting the opposition was a sport.

“They also have other people who insult leaders of my party and once they bring the insults we would also reply likewise. I don’t really see this ending now. It’s going to go back and forth and I don’t mind,” he explained.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.