Don’t accept money, gifts before voting for politicians – Cardinal Appiah Turkson

The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson has advised Ghanaians against accepting money and gifts from politicians before voting for them.

According to him, such acts amount to selling their conscience and mandate to the one in need of their votes hence not under any obligation to address their socio-economic needs.

Cardinal Appiah Turkson made these remarks at the Annual Leadership Lectures of the University of Professional Studies Accra, (UPSA) yesterday in Accra.

He was speaking on the topic “The tragedy of the commons and leadership for the common good.”

Elections, the Cardinal explained is not about gaining a “trophy” but the fulfillment of the needs of the people.

“So if we sell our conscience and mandate for gifts and other goodies, how do we expect them (politicians) to treat us after they have paid for the services they rendered in cash and kind,”he questioned.

His Eminence Turkson therefore charged Ghanaians especially eligible voters to rethink their actions and pick someone who would pursue their interests, goals and aspirations.

He on the other hand admonished politicians and leadership in all spheres of life to recognize what is within them, distinguish between needs and wants, listen to good counsel and always consult in order to recognise their strengths and weaknesses which pre-deposes them to help those in need.

“They must recognise what theyseek, differentiate between long and short-term vision in order not to lead the nation into ruins,” he added.

The Cardinal urged leaders not be carried away by short term gains, because it is better to eat everyday than just in one day as a result of greed and selfish interests.

Leadership he stated is a call to duty, satisfying the demands of the electorates amounts to dignified justice and once it flourishes results in subsidiarity, adding “if a poor man dies on the streets it is no news but when the stock exchange falls it is news, it is therefore the responsibility of leadership to use the states resources to the benefit of human beings with dignity.

The tragedy of the commons, he explained finds analogies in the administration and exercise of leadership of states, international bodies and situations for the common good.

These open access resources, Cardinal Turksonindicated called “commons” always persist and metamorphosed into different confraternities and solidarity groupings that often result in negative externality specially called greed.

Greed, he stated always prevented a common resource from fulfilling its purpose to the commoners as individuals acting in self-interest with even acclaimed rights use the common resource for their own gain with no regards for others.

The cardinal urged for respect for the norms, treat all citizens equally, protection of natural resources and the environment, an end to selfishness and arrogance that can ruin a noble cause or projects aimed at fulfilling the needs of the people.

“A noble project he said must be handled by a noble person, because those who try to play unfair games always suffer the consequences,” he added.

He therefore urged leadership to guard against that common tragedy by getting all citizens on board in the share of the state resources, avoid self-interest as it cannot guide decision making and be ready to account for stewardship.


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