The Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SDA Church) in Ghana has announced its intention to sanction members of the church holding positions in government, if corruption charges are leveled against them. The proposed sanctions are beside criminal charges the state might bring against them during prosecution.
Dr. Kwabena Annor-Boafo, a former President of the South Central Ghana Conference of the SDA Church, said this during the Camp Meeting Service of the Amakom District of the SDA, headed by Pastor Adade Boateng, at the weekend, which was carried by this paper.
The former President of the South Central Ghana Conference of the SDA Church accused some church leaders, who have their members in charge of the country, of doing little or nothing to enforce stiffer punishments on such members found guilty of misappropriating or embezzling monies belonging to the state.
Dr. Kwabena Annor-Boafo believes the measures the SDA Church was instituting would go a long way to deter the few church members in government from indulging in any corrupt practices, adding that it would also help purge the image of the church, as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
The Chronicle supports the church on this course, especially when churches themselves have been in the news for all the bad reasons.
Some have argued that the church has deviated from its core mandate of preaching the Gospel, and engaging in business, hence should be taxed.
Early this year, there was a call by some Members of Parliament (MPs) requesting a law to be enacted to regulate the activities of churches solely owned and run by individuals and self-professed pastors, termed as ‘One-Man Churches’, who are engaging in all sorts of illegalities.
The legislators argued that there is a need for Parliament to critically investigate the activities of these churches and pastors to protect Ghanaians from exploitation, since they are alleged to have been engaging in all manner of unacceptable practices in the country, rather than their core mandate of preaching the Gospel.
They added that a certain level of regulation is required to prevent these churches and pastors from engaging in abuse, indoctrination and other activities that are not in line sound Christian teaching.
Therefore, if a fraction of this same institution that has come under criticism and is instituting measures to guard against an age-old canker, then we side with them and call on other churches to emulate the SDA Church, and help reduce corruption to it barest minimum.
Over the years, the government and civil society organisations, not only in Ghana, but Africa and the whole world, have tried to deal with the canker called corruption, as it constitutes a major challenge to economic emancipation and development.
Transparency International, a global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, posits that corruption is hindering Africa’s economic, political and social development, adding that it is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold government to account.
In its 2018 report, which saw Ghana being ranked 78th corrupt country out of 180, the organisation indicated that corruption affects the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, and harms hundreds of millions of citizens by undermining their chances of a stable and prosperous future.
The report revealed that the range of corruption challenges that African citizens, of which Ghana forms part, face is complex and multifaceted and requires fundamental and systemic changes.
Some of the suggestions that came from citizens in tackling this cancer included investigating, prosecuting and sanctioning all reported cases of corruption in both the public and the private sectors, with no exception, and well as developing minimum standards and guidelines for ethical procurement, and build strong procurement practice throughout the continent, with training, monitoring and research.
May be the government, as well as civil society organisations, should take a clue from the SDA Church and see how they can make religious bodies an integral part of the fight against corruption.