President of Ghana Pledges Support for Religious Liberty Efforts of Church

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GHANA | SOLACE YAWA ASAFO

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo has pledged his personal support to address some religious liberty issues affecting Adventists in Ghana.

He gave this assurance on Sunday, June 20 when church leaders visited the Ghanaian President at his home to confer with him on some national development issues and religious liberty matters affecting the church in Ghana.

Briefing the President on the purpose of the visit, Pastor Peter Osei Mensah, a former President of the then Ghana Union Conference who was the spokesperson for the delegation said, ” Our visit was intended to congratulate and show appreciation to the President as well as seek his counsel and support on some religious liberty issues confronting our members.”

Adventist students in Ghana grapple with writing examinations on Saturdays and members may be unable to vote in Ghana’s next elections because they will be held on December 7, 2024 which will fall on a Saturday.

Close to a million Seventh-day Adventist voters will be unable to vote if nothing is done about it. In 1996, when the voting day fell on Saturday, over 95% of Adventist voters refused to vote.

In response to these matters, the President said he was happy to receive the delegation and said, “Though the issues are weighty matters, I am happy they have been brought to my attention, I will add my weight to this cause.

On examinations on the Sabbath, President Akufo Addo said though Ghana is a secular state,

“As a nation we insist on freedom of religion and I will take this up with the education authorities.”

He also assured the leaders that he will also explore avenues for a change in the voting date.

“Disenfranchising a lot of people because of the date is not the best thing to do,” said Addo. “Though the date is an entrenched constitutional clause, we will look into the possibilities of advocating for a change from the specific date to a day in December as is done in some countries. Leave it to me and I will begin the process of a public discourse. I am glad this has come up early and so there is time to do so and get consensus across the political divide.

The Adventist leaders also congratulated the President on his re-election, his efficient management of the Covid-19 situation and on Ghana’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The leaders also thanked him for the support Adventist schools, hospitals and religious liberty provisions members have enjoyed under his tenure.

Church leaders assured the president of the church’s support and continual prayers for his government and the nation.

The delegation was made up of the two Union Presidents in Ghana, Pastors Thomas Techie Ocran and Kwame Boakye Kwanin, the Executive Secretary of the Southern Ghana Union Conference, Pastor Chris Annan-Nunoo, Pastor Annor Boafo, a Chaplain of the Valley View University, Dr Solace Asafo, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director and prominent Adventist statesmen, the former Clerk of Ghana’s Parliament, Elder Emmanuel Anyimadu, former Member of Parliament, Honourable Kwame Osei-Prempeh and the Director of Research at the Presidency, Dr. Isaac Owusu- Mensah.