Editorial: Agyinasare-Nogokpo brouhaha: let there be peace, we plead

Religious tolerance remains one of the secrets of Ghana’s success story when it comes to national cohesion, peace and understanding. Elsewhere in the world, it is a taboo for Christians and Muslims to cohabit, but the situation is not the same in Ghana.

In fact, there are church buildings all over Nima and Maamobi – which are suburbs of Accra predominantly populated by Muslims. The same situation applies to Tamale, also a dominant Muslim area. In some instances, one can see church buildings standing side by side with mosques. This is a spectacular scene and one of its kind that can be observed in Ghana.

Despite the communal living of these different religious groups, and the close location of their places of worship, one can hardly hear them attacking each other. Apart from the Muslims and Christians, we also have traditionalists who also worship their gods in peace. As a matter of fact, in the Volta Region, it is sometimes common to see these traditionalists trooping to church during Easter, which Christians use to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Some of these rites are not limited to traditionalists alone, as Muslims sometimes visit churches when funerals of their Christian friends are being performed. As we indicated earlier, these things will never happen in other countries, but because of our culture of tolerance, we are doing so here in Ghana. Nowadays, it is even trite to see a Christian marrying a Muslim and vice versa.

In a nutshell, all the religious groups have been living peacefully in Ghana – the reason why inter-tribal and religious wars are not common in the country, which is the centre of planet Earth.

It is based on all these advantages we have enumerated that we find very worrying the tension that is building between Archbishop Charles Agyinasare and the chiefs and people in the Ketu South Municipality in the Volta Region.

During one of his Sunday sermons, Archbishop Agyinasare is said to have described Nogokpo, a traditional shrine in the Volta Region, as the ‘demonic headquarters’ in Ghana.

When the issue got into the public domain, the Archbishop used the same platform he used in making the original statement to apologise to Nogokpo, and the chiefs and people of the Volta Region as a whole. He did not end there, but went a step further to explain that his wife of 38 years comes from Keta in the Volta Region, and that some of his children bear Ewe names.

But this apology has not been accepted by the chiefs of Nogokpo, who are insisting that Archbishop Agyinasare appears before them to render a proper apology. Considering that the Archbishop is the head of one of the biggest charismatic churches in Ghana, the tension, which is building between him and Nogokpo, if not addressed, will affect the religious harmony that we are currently enjoying in the country, which is the envy to others.

The Chronicle is, therefore, happy with the intervention that is being made by the Peace Council to have the issue resolved.

The Chairman of the Council, Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, was quoted by citinewsroom.com as saying: “The National Peace Council has noted with concern the current impasse between Archbishop Charles Agyinasare, the Founder of Perez Chapel International, and Nogokpo Traditional Authorities.

“Recognising the fact that the impasse, if not quickly addressed, may have consequences on peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance in the country, the National Peace Council, in pursuit of its mandate to facilitate conflict prevention, appeals to the Nogokpo Traditional Authorities and Perez Chapel International to remain calm and not give in to provocations, as efforts are being undertaken to address the situation.”

We believe this is the best way to go, instead of sitting down idle for the matter to degenerate into something else. It is the hope of The Chronicle that the Nogokpo chiefs will accept the intervention of the National Peace Council in the name of peace and harmony.

We believe some of the indigenes of Nogokpo are members of Agyinasare’s church, and dragging the issue will only escalate tensions. Let there be peace, we plead with both factions.


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