Corruption is a serious concern not only in developing countries but also in the most advanced ones. This situation in Ghana is not different as corruption has always played a major role in our body politic. Governments have been overthrown on basis of corruption and elections are fought on corruption. Many factors such as poor remuneration and greed have been identified as the major causes of corruption. But one cannot downplay the attitude of Ghanaians towards the poor in society as an equally important driving force for corruption. Society virtually worships the wealthy irrespective of the sources of their wealth. A typical Ghanaian will denigrate other citizens who have not been able to build their own houses and bought cars upon retirement without appreciating the fact that their salaries and the economy would not have permitted them to acquire those things. What is more worrying is the way one of the most influential institutions in the society, the Church, has taken over the course of irresponsible and irrational glorification of wealth.
There is no doubt that most churches have
either consciously or unconsciously put wealth acquisition above all
other things including 'The Great Commission,’ that is preaching and
winning heaven-bound souls for the Lord. More often than not, instead of
emphasising the need to live morally upright lives, most church leaders
focus on miracles and prophesying breakthroughs. These days, the
attention is on offertory and payment tithes. Those who are able to
donate big cash and other material things are offered reserved seats in
churches. It is no more a perception that pastoralism is one of the
highest paid jobs in the country. Whereas in the past, most pastors
were people who could not pursue education to the very top levels and
found good jobs, these days, medical doctors, lawyers and engineers are
abandoning their profession to do pastoral works. There is nothing wrong
with this, because pastoralism is a calling and no matter whom you are
and where you are, you have to answer when you are called.
But, it does not appear that these latter
day saints are really called. There is a sharp difference in the
lifestyle of pastors of old and the current ones. This is evidenced in
the shameless demonstration of opulence and obsession with messages on
wealth as exhibited by these so called men of God who arrogate various
titles to themselves. Ironically, these are the churches attracted to
large masses including high ranking politicians, public and civil
servants. Religion is said to be the opium of the masses. People
virtually worship their pastors and are more than willing to obey their
Corruption can be reduced drsatically if
not eliminated completely if church leaders play their roles
effectively. That is why it is worrying to hear a respected Reverend
claimed that politicians attempted to bribe him more than three years
ago. The question is, as a man of God worth his salt, why did he have to
wait all these while before coming public. Also, instead of saying he
would have released wild dogs to chase the people, why did he not report
them to the police or other law enforcement agencies? We cannot win the
war against corruption with this kind of attitude from the citizens
especially religious leaders.
We must all unite to fight this canker. Let
us name and shame those indulge in corrupt practices. This must be a
genuine fight devoid of any political or parochial interest.
BY ALI BALA, A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR FROM SENYA BERAKU.