The Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to be cautious in its bid to create 45 more constituencies.
It said although the creation may be within the law, it may not be prudent to do so as a result of the country’s scarce resources.
Speaking to journalists after a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Moderator of the PCG, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, advised the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, not to embark on any course of action that would dent his image.
“The law gives him the right to do it but will it benefit the nation? Do we have the resources as a nation for more constituencies? Why does he want to put the government in financial difficulties? He should minimise his mistakes as he prepares to leave office after many years of meritorious service to Ghana,” he said.
The press conference was to present a communique issued by the 12th General Assembly of the PCG, held from August 17 to 23,2012 at Abetifi, Kwahu.
Rev. Martey reminded Dr Afari-Gyan of his enviable, unblemished record and achievements as chairman of the EC and expressed fear that the creation of the 45 constituencies and its aftermath might “destroy that record”.
He said currently some health workers had withdrawn their services as a result of the failure of the government to pay some allowances that they claimed were due them and added that such occurrences were signs that the state is carrying a heavy yoke in the area of finance.
Creating more constituencies, he said, was very likely to stretch the country’s finances beyond its limits.
At the press conference earlier, Rev Martey commended Ghanaians for the show of patriotism and the maturity during the burial and funeral rites of the late President J.E.A. Mills, the smooth take-over of President John Mahama and the subsequent appointment of Mr P.K. Amissah¬Arthur as Vice-President, adding that those events had enhanced Ghana’s democratic credentials.
He also commended the EC for the successful biometric voter registration exercise, pointing out that since peace depended on transparent elections, it was important that the commission procured all the relevant equipment to enable it to authenticate the identity of voters.
“As the 2012 elections draw closer, it may be helpful to recollect how close we came to disaster during and after the last elections and to recognise that peace has to be engineered in all aspects. The recollection is meant to assist us to reflect realistically on the value of peace,” he said.
Rev. Martey said the PCG was disturbed by the emerging threats and challenges to peace, namely communal violence, spousal killings, hate speeches, the menace of Fulani herdsmen and conflicts between foreigners and Ghanaians, and added that Ghana’s fall from the position of 42 to 50 in the latest ranking on peace building by the Institute of Economic and Peace was disturbing.
“The PCG, in the view of the above, is of the view that the peace of the country is threatened, much more so in the run-up to the December 2012 elections. PCG suggests to the government and the security agencies to look out for early warning signs and douse potential flames before they break out into full-scale conflicts,” he said.
He urged politicians and the ‘entire citizenry to be aware that conflict and instability would be in nobody’sinterest and could bring untold hardship, misery and disaster to the country.
To religious leaders, he said, they had a role, to play in ensuring that Ghana remained peaceful before, during and after the general election by preaching peace and tolerance to their congregations and practicing same.
Rev. Martey noted that the activities of some private media houses in the country had contributed to the increasing ethical challenges facing the journalism profession and the country as a whole and said the use of intemperate and abusive language in public discourse and on air, the partisan nature of radio and television discussions on issues of national interest, social commentators and serial callers led to avoidable tension within the country.
Turning his attention to ethnicity, Rev Martey said although that “deadly disease” was not apparent in Ghana, cracks were beginning to occur with growing ethnocentric sentiments “flowing in the air” in this election year.
“Ethnocentric prejudices and insults must stop to pave way for national development, unity and peace. In this regard, any media organisation that allows its network to be used to promote ethnocentrism should be sanctioned by the National Media Commission (NMC)”.
On the economy, he noted that considerable challenges still confronted the nation such as high unemployment, adding that economic growth could only be attained through pragmatic and systematic planning.
Touching on education, Rev. Martey said the sector had suffered from lack of adequate funding and inefficient management culminating in poor results and training at all levels and urged the government to make education a top priority and non-partisan and commit more human and financial resources to ensure its rejuvenation.
He also commented on the health sector and urged the government to rescue the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by addressing the challenges that confronted it.