Agenda 111: You can’t hide behind religion to gag voices of dissent – Prof. Gyampo to Presby Moderator

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Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo has expressed his disapproval over comments made by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church about critics of government’s Agenda 111 initiative.

Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante in expressing his unhappiness about how some people have criticized President Akufo-Addo’s Agenda 111 initiative described them witches who need deliverance from men of God.

But the maverick lecturer is of the view that the stance taken by the revered man of God has no place in a democratic setting like Ghana.

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Professor Gyampo explains that the critics of the initiative have every right to express their dissenting opinions giving the bad history of the country where successive governments have abandoned projects initiative by the previous government resulting in wastage of the scarce resources of the country.

He added that religion cannot be used as a tool to gag people with differing views in a multi-party democracy which thrives of on the expression of ideas.

Critics of Agenda 111 initiative are witches; they need deliverance – Presby Moderator

He therefore admonished members of the clergy to wary of their public comments on matters relating to partisan politics in order not appear to gag people with divergent views and opinions.

In a Facebook post sighted by ABC News, Prof. Gyampo expressed that “there is no way religion can be used to silence voices of dissent in any democracy. Dissent is not sinful. It is healthy for the survival of multiparty democracy and development. He who is cutting a path would not know if his back is crooked. Through constructive dissent, (not cynicism) pitfalls of projects and governmental actions are exposed for introspection and redress.”

“It is therefore absolutely unacceptable and undemocratic for revered people of God to use their religious influence to attempt to silence dissent. It cannot work in a democracy and when overly pushed, religious reverence may suffer needless partisan and more importantly, societal disrespect.  We do not have to get there,” he added.
He therefore concluded that “our revered men and women of God must comment on public policies and on matters of partisan politics, in a manner that does not frustrate dissent through harsh judgmental invectives and vituperations. We all cannot be forced to think alike. Society crumbles the day dissent is ousted. So, let the government be focused on what it wants to do and let those who want to dissent, freely do so. Should there be wisdom in dissent, it must be taken on board. Should there be nothing sensible in dissent, it should remain as dissent, in the spirit of democracy.”
SourceABC News

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