Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Preamble (As Introduction): Just One Scandal Too Many….
In July 2022, the world at large witnessed the resignation of a global leader, the UK Prime Minister:
Regardless of his status we witnessed how he was held accountable with intense grilling in Parliament. Before the Prime Minster resigned, About 50 Cabinet secretaries, ministers and others had resigned- more out of their loyalty to the nation and the common good than to a single individual who not only lied but continued to defend obvious indiscretion and trespasses.
It was ‘One scandal too many’ for most of them.
Why Did they Resign? What was their concern?
It was hardly for prestige, promotion or self-preservation... But concern over the common good of the NATION. One of them, Sajid Javid, who quit as health secretary yesterday, told MPs that "treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity" had become impossible.
The Prime Minister eventually saw that he had to step down:
According to reliable Media:
The brash, 58-year-old politician who took Britain out of the European Union and steered it through COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine was brought down by one scandal too many — this one involving his appointment of a politician who had been accused of sexual misconduct.
On Thursday, July 07, 2022, the Prime Minister himself publicly announced:
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said on Thursday.”
Question: Will Cabinet Ministers in our context resign as a matter of principle?
And will a failed political leader resign seeing that he can no longer be trusted to serve as he or she should?
The church has responsibility to renew and restore the words integrity and accountability into politics.
The typical response of many people is: This cannot happen in any African Nation:
… And why NOT?, WHY NOT?
Because most Africans, including the Church CANNOT hold leaders ACCOUNTABLE or demand such level of Accountability:
Friends, we have a huge challenge ahead of us and, with the limited time I have to say all I had intended, this introductory illustration reflects of the major challenges ahead of this good initiative: Political Responsibility and Accountability: without which any reflection on our topic, ‘Redefining Contemporary Political Ethos in Ghana: The Place of Christ and His Church.’ would be complete!
1. PART ONE: Towards Definition of Politics:
The universally accepted definition of democracy is one by the 16th United States President, Abraham Lincoln: ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people’. The late American journalist and scholar, Henry Louis Mencken defines it as “the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
The common denominator in both definitions is… PEOPLE.
Politics and Democracy must mean more than voting at periodic elections.
It is About people and the common good.
It must mean working towards the common good of a better life for people.
The idea of Common Good:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., former civil Rights leader says
‘We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice.
Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity’
Pope Francis echoes that by saying
“I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good.”
Elsewhere he said,
“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”
To come nearer home: Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi says
I learned that leadership is about falling in love with the people and the people falling in love with you. It is about serving the people with selflessness, with sacrifice, and with the need to put the common good ahead of personal interests. 
2. PART TWO: Contemporary Contextual Realities:
The Idea of ‘Redefining Contemporary Political Ethos in Ghana’ as in our topic for reflection… suggests that the current state of Political Ethos is no longer tenable and the relationship between that with the place of Christ and the Church suggests that much more needs to be done in bridging the gap between both; that is the gap between the Contemporary political Ethos and the responsibility of the Church under the Lordship of Christ.
However, we must Begin…by acknowledging the pace setting legacy and stability of Ghana as a growing political space.
Ghana as pioneer of the attainment of political independence in Africa had a vision of Pan African liberation which became a catalyst for the independence of other nations.
Ghana has also achieved remarkable success in democratic consolidation by conducting eighth (8th) general election in the Fourth Republic without widespread violence since 1992.
2.1. Our Seasons of Rejoicing
Ghana’s pioneering role brought seasons of rejoicing, not only to Ghana but various other African Nations. Our emancipation minded nationalist heroes challenged the powers that be and laid significant foundations for our development. Like the sons of Issachar in the Scriptures (1 Chronicles 12:32) they understood the times to foresee what Africa’s future could be. They had enough vision to see how the continent’s human and material resources can be harnessed to meet the teeming needs of our people. Beyond political emancipation they laid infrastructural foundations to sustain education, economic and social development of our people. Besides political leaders there were also ordinary like-minded Africans who like Aggrey believed “Only the best is good enough for Africa” They were teachers, economists, mechanics, farmers as well as others in various other professional callings, who contributed their part. All these have made Africa rejoice.
Africa’s season of Rejoicing also recognize and affirmed Ghana’s Dr J E Kwegyir Aggrey’s conviction that
‘Only the best is good enough for Africa…’ According to Him:
“My people of Africa, we were created in the image of God, but men have made us think we are chickens, and we still think we are, but we are eagles. Stretch forth your wings and fly! Don't be content with food of chickens.”
2.2. Our Seasons of Lament
We’ve also had significant seasons of lament. Our inability to have enough leaders with the moral will to sustain the dreams and hopes nurtured at independence is matched by external forces determined to stereotype us as the ‘dark or hopeless continent.’ Our contemporary challenge still includes how to sustain the foundations laid by the foresight, wisdom, courage and passion of our ancestors. All too often the gains of the past have been squandered by various interest groups lobbying for or outrightly stealing what they consider to be their share of the national cake.
The reasons for lament…
… Suggests that independence alone or the embrace of democracy as a system is NOT necessarily guarantee the common good of any nation.
3. PART THREE: Handwriting On The WALL:
I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet but the handwriting on the wall suggests that unless there is a radical redefinition of political engagement as it should be, none of us will be at ease in the not too distant future.
Let us begin with a note of warning. Starting with recent events in a nation that often presents itself as the bastion of democracy as a sacred trust. That notion was desacralized by the events of January 6, 2021 which reminded us that embracing democracy as ‘government of the people by the people for the people is neither sacrosanct nor without flaws.
On that day, remembered as the day the masquerade of American democracy was unmasked to near collapse,hundreds of a sitting President’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC, resulting in four dead, 52 arrested and 14 police officers. Various experts said this unprecedented incident ‘marked the fall of “the beacon of democracy.’
David P. Goldman, Author of How Civilizations Die… said:
“No Russian cyberspooks, no Chinese spies, no jihadi terrorists – no external enemies of any kind could have brought as much harm to the United States as its own self-inflicted wounds.”
This is to suggest that...
… Embracing the term DEMOCRACY does not guarantee the moral or territorial integrity of any nation- as recent events of military uprising in neighbouring countries have also clearly demonstrated: with peoples revolt against those whose politics of the stomach, of privilege and of marginalisation of vulnerable people have clearly undermined the very idea of politics as government of the people by the people for the people.
Ego and arrogant misappropriation of TRUST has lasting implications for any nation.
We hardly reflect on the Contemporary Political Ethos in Ghana … without some reference to continental or regional context of the nation… as a warning of what can be, even if undesirable:
1. South Sudan
The example of South Sudan is worth being mentioned. Having a nation with a predominant Christian population does not necessarily translate into leadership that serves the national common good. For several years, people prayed and campaigned for the predominantly black South Sudanese citizens to be free and independent from their predominantly Arab population of The Sudan. The Southerners, convinced that the North with the capital at Khartoum was their enemy, fought for independence. When independence eventually came on the 9th of July, 2011, there was much rejoicing with drums of celebration. The celebration was however short lived. Not long after, South Sudanese citizens soon discovered that the enemy within- the ethnic divide, greed and other damaging elements within the predominantly Christian population- was more vicious that the external enemy. The fractures in leadership soon led to genocidal destitution, disease and death.
Pope Francis once once laid prostrate on his face at the feet of two opposing leaders to plead for reconciliation but the status quo remains.
This suggests that Significant Christian population NOT enough. It also Suggests that it takes more than declaration of independence to have what it takes for a nation to be at peace
Zambia: the experience of Zambia suggests that it takes more than prayers or positive declaration of the Nation as a Christian Nation for people to experience shalom. According to Isabel Phiri, “one of the reasons why Zambia was declared a Christian nation was Chiluba's belief that a nation whose leader fears God prospers economically.” Nevertheless, she adds Chiluba’s ‘presidency of Zambia as a Christian nation ended with his reputation both as a Christian and as a democrat in ruins’  . She also concludes that ‘the ten years of Chiluba's presidency failed to improve the economic situation of the people. As a Christian leader Chiluba failed to stamp out corruption among his leaders.’
It may be unreasonable for me to refer to these various nations without reference to our neighbouring Country Nigeria. I call Nigeria neighbouring Country between the countries in between both nations – Togo and Benin – and temporary shock absorbers between Ghana and Nigeria, be it related to the dynamics of soccer, jollof rice or political instability. Should the current volcanic tremors in Nigerian political affairs- the rampant instability, kidnappings that have spared neither Bishops or Businesspersons, the banditry of AK47 wielding so called Fulani Herdsmen who attacked the President’s Convoy early last week and bombed their way into a high security correctional enclave to release close to 500 boko haram convicts.
Should this volcanic political tremors erupt into full explosion, the countries between Nigeria and this nation will fell less of the impact than those of us in this nation.
Besides kidnapping and banditry, Between January and June 2022, militants Hacked 2,543 Christians to death in Nigeria, and abducted 1400 Others. By Some estimates, 105 Christians are killed weekly, since beginning of 2022!
The situations I have referred to is sometimes waved away with a shrug of ‘this cannot happen here. Not in Ghana.’ Really? I suggest that the current political tempo suggests that there is a handwriting on the WALL
4. PART FOUR: Current Ethos: Ghana Hardly Ever as Divided as it is Now
Current trends suggest that the Nation has hardly ever been as divided as it is now: It goes beyond just two opposing sides, and it is not only un-ethical but unjust to lump all people in this nation as torn primarily between ONLY the shades of two leading political parties. I suggest that such exclusion OR seclusion marginalizes various other categories that have vital participation and contribution to the wellbeing of the NATION.
Our fractures along such lines as so deep, influenced by the lens from which we read or perceive the things that tear us apart such as:
Our Position on E-levy and other taxes
Economics, Cost of living, related to what it takes to have daily bread on the table
The Cathedrals Project- to be or not to be
As well as the recent Idea of an IMF loan- to be or not to be
… just to name a few:
‘We the people’ is also divided by other things:
Such as who goes through traffic red lights or NOT:
I’ve lived and been in some African countries where everyone, except the emergency services like ambulances, fire service or Presidential convoys stops at traffic lights when it is red. Before the current chaos, when we lived in Zimbabwe for some years, the police, military and other security operatives obeyed traffic laws like anyone else.
Political ETHOS includes not only big things but small things as big as obeying traffic laws, making just laws and reduction of every possible trait of conflict of interest in public affairs.
We have also witnessed the escalation of heated debates and sharp disagreements on these and other matters.
On the political front some of those in opposition parties often mistakenly think their primary mandate is to oppose any idea, policy or initiate of the ruling party no matter how good or profitable it may be for the common good Likewise, those entrusted with the temporary responsibility of leading by example often reject or rubbish any different or contrary view in the mistaken belief that they have a monopoly of the wisdom of God.
Not a few persons have lamented the acrimony between members of Parliament as well as various categories of their supporters. A Professor recently expressed concern on how debates and phone in programmes on radio were being used. He stated ‘the need for the country to have a culture of civility in its politics with issue driven debates.’ 
‘The use of indecent words by political actors and their assignees… poses a serious threat to Ghana's democratic dispensation as it can escalate into serious conflict with social, political and economic ramifications.’
There is nothing wrong in questions being asked about these deep issues. The challenge is how and when it is done:
Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa said,
“In human affairs, no single person, organization, or social formation ever have a final or an absolutely correct position. It is through conversation, debate & critical discussion that we approach positions that may provide workable solutions.”
Jesus said in Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” A kingdom, a nation, a church, or a marriage divided against itself, cannot stand.
Having said these, we should not underestimate the reality of the challenge and complexity of being on the hot seat of governance, be it in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial arms of implementation
More often than not, those entrusted with such significant responsibilities often feel abandoned even by the Church.
5. PART FIVE: What is the place of Christ or the Church?
We can safely assume that the notion that Christians should not participate in politics has been dispensed with:
Understanding the mind of Christ on this matter must begin with the mind of God the Father.
It is NOT for nothing that God has pre- ordained the government of all heavenly and earthly Kingdoms to rest on the shoulder of Jesus Christ. It is not for nothing that he is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not just of the Church but of the Universe.
5.1. The place of Christ in Politics:
What has Jesus got to do with politics?
Many people have wrongly summed up Jesus’ perspective as ‘Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. This is used as a basis for Christ and the Churches non-participation in politics.
This is far from Sound Biblical truth, for if politics is about people and the well being or common good of people, no one is as political as Jesus was.
Three Things about Jesus and Politics
1. Jesus made two seemingly contradictory political statements:
1). First (which many political pacifists delight in), “My Kingdom is NOT of this world”
If His Kingdom is not of this world, what business have we in the affairs of this world.?
To believe and live only by this is to ignore his second profound statement:
2). Secondly, That “The Kingdom of God is here.
If His Kingdom is not of this world, in what sense does he at the same time say, “The Kingdom of God has come?”
This declaration is to demonstrate that His Kingdom has been inaugurated and the ethos of the Kingdom should govern all ethos of life including that of politics.
This is why in teaching us to pray, he said pray thus: ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, not just in heaven but here on earth as it is in heaven.’
If His Kingdom is not of this world, why would he ask us to pray for the blessing or the shalom of that Kingdom to be experienced here and now through God’s WILL being done here on earth?
2. Jesus and Kingdom Ethos on Politics
We have established that politics is about people and their common Good. To follow Jesus in this regard is to appreciate that
the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (Romans 14:17)
His Kingdom is not aligned with politics of the stomach or ethnic discrimination or cleaning in allocation of resources. Nor is His government aligned with the ‘chop chop’ of politics.
“the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)
The ethos of His Kingdom justice, and peace, and joy- is to be brought to bear on politics. This justice, and peace, and joy is NOT meant JUST for the rich and powerful or those who buy communities, votes and consciences to acquire power. It is for the Common GOOD of ALL.
Furthermore, if politics is about people why would Jesus sum up all of the commandments as two: Thou shalt love the love your God … and your neighbor as yourself.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:30-31)
Simple, profound, yet so difficult to live out.
If all politicians will lay down their vocal and other arms and love members of the other party (love your enemies), love the nation beyond their own personal and sometimes selfish interests and love the pursuit of Common Good, especially for vulnerable people for whose cause they are in politics in the first place, the ETHOS of politics will increasingly be what it should be.
We can collectively work for what Dr J E Kwegyir Aggrey calls “ONLY THE BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR GHANA”
3. Jesus and the Lord’s Prayer as a Political Statement
I suggest to us that the Lord’s prayer as whole is political statement, a political declaration that should not only be prayed but lived out.
For instance, when we pray: ‘Lead us not into temptation but Deliver us from evil…’
It includes the temptation to misappropriate national resources; it includes the temptation to discriminate against people on basis of the ethnicity, race and status: Deliver is from evil includes not only prayer but the discipline to desist from the evil of trampling on the rights of vulnerable people or distorting justice on account of the political space we occupy.
The prayer forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…
Includes Lord forgive us
for vulnerable people we have trampled underfoot
People whose poverty level we have increased or
The widows and orphans we have neglected in our policies
We must therefore return to God’s perspective in pre-ordaining His Son, Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and on whose shoulders all government should rest.
Who will translate these political declarations into reality? The Church! This is where the church comes in.
6. PART SIX: The Place Of The Church:
The Church with her numbers that gather to hear God’s word week after week has best opportunity to challenge, influence and nurture mindsets towards what leadership should be in any and all spheres of engagement, including politics. The Church has responsibility to guard the moral fabric of political engagement both by her presence and participation. Living and bearing witness in every
May I suggest Seven Non-negotiable Essentials for the role of Church in Redefining Political Ethos in any Context. They are things with which we are so familiar. However, the common mistake often made is the thinking that these matters are to be practiced within Church or Christian ministry BUT not in the public sphere of engagement. I suggest today that all significant ethos of spirituality and Christian ministry must be brought to bear on the arena of politics.
6.1. The Priority of Truth in the Political Space
A new term came into use in 2016 as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year
It is the word Post-Truth. The proliferation of its use followed the 2016 United States presidential election and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. Oxford dictionaries further notes that post-truth was often used as an adjective to signal a distinctive kind of politics – post-truth politics.
Post-truth refers to using emotions to unleash people’s emotions to change their thoughts and, at the same time, hide facts. When we consider the impact of post-truth and fake news, is it any surprising what happens in the political sphere?
In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, says
“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lives, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”
And as back as 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev (Former leader of the Soviet Union) said, “What we know now, what we can clearly see from the vintage of today, is that leadership in the 20th century realized its potential through force, deception or propaganda.”
Post Truth Politics has become so rampant that... it defies objective or moral considerations. Some politicians in leadership or opposition often distort truth that their lies and deceit are so convincing that black is taken as white and darkness as light. It is often costly to speak the truth which is why many have opted to go with ‘if you cannot beat them, join them.’
While it may be true that we live in a post truth era, Let all followers of Jesus never forget that the one declares that he is the way the truth and the life is the same yesterday, today and forever. As the ultimate Truth he still calls those who follow HIM to abide in the truth and bring it to bear on all spheres of life, including the political.
6.2. The ‘Triple ‘S’ of Biblical leadership:
All of us concerned about Political engagement as will do well to embrace and commit to raising a new generation of politicians’ who see it as a calling rooted in three major Biblical emphasis on leadership: It is what I call the ‘triple ‘S’ of Servant leadership; steward-leadership and shepherd leadership
Like Christian leaders in any given situation, political leaders should be
Servants: Serving the nation for the common good of all citizens
Stewards: Appropriating resources with integrity and justice, and
Shepherds: Leading the Nation by compassionate example
In this regard the political leaders seeks to serve as a servant, a steward of resources and a shepherd of people for the common good.
6.3. Proactive Preparation and Double listening
Beyond prayers and prophesies, Proactive Participation begins with a discipline of constant awareness of the local political situation as well as commitment to influence change. Related to this there are trans-national moral codes defined by the living God.
Like-minded people who understand God’s will for shalom and the common good of all have significant responsibility to join hearts, minds and hands in pursuit of all it takes to rescue any nation from those who otherwise do not care.
Some years ago, in the Philippines, a coalition, not too different from those of us gathered here, Philippines for Righteous Governance (PRG), gathered at Forbes Park, Makati City, March 26, 2009 and declared:
WE, FILIPINOS OF DIFFERENT CREEDS, DECLARE AND BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF GOD (A DIVINE BEING) WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND EARTH; THUS, IN GOD WE TRUST.
We, are citizens of the Republic of the Philippines comprising of individuals and various organizations, and hereby state a DECLARATION OF UNITY in common vision for RIGHTEOUS GOVERNANCE and GENUINE SYSTEMS CHANGE. Because of this declaration of unity, we do hereby state the following: That the Philippines today is in a state of MORAL DECAY perpetrated by our present leadership who has shamelessly displayed the absence of morality in governance, integrity, justice and love of country.
Our nation is tainted with crimes against God and humanity where HUMAN RIGHTS are systematically violated resulting in the disappearance and death of over a thousand victims. The past several administrations had never instituted a GENUINE LAND REFORM that could have resulted in economic prosperity, promotion of nationalism and morality, dignity in the Filipino; thus we cannot anymore stand as mere spectators of dismal and flagrant display of historical failures to bring about GENUINE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS. That the Philippines today needs GENUINE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS that will be mustered by NON-TRADITIONAL POLITICIANS and a few exceptional traditional politicians at all levels of public governance, from the Presidency down to the Barangay Captain level. They will run the Philippines to be a great country with righteous governance, with shame; will possess integrity, selflessness and not greed; must dispense proper justice, promote peace, push for poverty alleviation, put the country back to order, enhance ecological balance, uplift morality, good values, and LOVE OF FAMILY, and be more nationalistic through LOVE OF COUNTRY.
Then, beyond awareness and identification comes active participation…
6.4. Proactive Participation in national Affairs:
Beyond prayer, it was active participation in the 2002 Kenyan elections that got President Daniel Arap Moi’s ruling party out of power. Before that, during most elections, Christians will be in prayer retreats and camps during elections, and few will participate in voting. Moving from praying only to prayer and political involvement made a huge difference.
PLATO, ANCIENT GREEK philosopher says…
‘If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.’
Or as it was later rendered:
‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.’
Our active participation, beginning in little ways matters. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in great ways’
Our Votes: Congressman John Lewis, legend of the Civil Rights movement, a leader of the 1963 March on Washington, and an icon for grassroots organizers for more than five decades, once told his colleagues,
"My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union."
Let us begin with Grassroots Participation.
6.5. Holding Political Leaders accountable:
The Church has responsibility to hold political leaders accountable. NOT only after then get into office but before, while in the process of getting involved and after they get there. This includes being actively aware speaking out against abuse of privilege and responsibility:
Holding them accountable begins with our being accountable within recognisable circles of accountability. If we are not accountable to anyone, we have no basis to hold political leaders accountable
Robert B Reich, in The, says
“It is a central obligation of politicians as well as journalists, researchers, scientists, and academicians to inform the public of the truth, and to identify lies without fear of retribution. It is the civic responsibility of all of us to check the facts we read or hear, to find and depend upon reliable sources, to share the truth with others, and hold accountable those who lie to us or suppress the truth.”
We have already illustrated with how British MPs held their Prime Minister accountable).
Martin Luther King Jr. says “hew who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
6.6. Conversations with Consequences and Responsible Citizenship:
Includes an intentional Discipleship Process such as the one being initiated today that nurtures conversations with implications and consequence on the national political Ethos. Such conversations should take place at home, in church small groups and other settings, not just when there is a national election but all times. Beyond this, living faithfully as responsible citizens in our various context of everyday life.
6.7. Persistent Prayer and Perseverance:
Finally, but not least, persevering prayer for all in authority, for all aspiring to be and for one another as responsible citizens. We should not under-estimate the spiritual battle in the political space. It is not about human exchanges or disagreements but a battle for the very soul of the nation. 2 Corinthians 10:4- ’For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…’
May the Lord help our generation and others coming behind us to work more intentionally towards the peace of GHANA.
© Femi B. Adeleye, PhD
July 9, 2022
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