The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Asante, has categorically denied taking part in a meeting to broker peace in the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Media reports said a meeting convened at the instance of former President John Agyekum Kufuor in his house to resolve the differences between the NPP flag beater, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the party’s National Chairman and the General Secretary, Messrs Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, respectively, was attended by some leading members of the clergy, including the Most Rev. Asante.
Other members of the clergy who were said to be present were the Most Rev. Prof Emmanuel Martey, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana; the Most Rev. Charles Palmer-Buckle, the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, and Pastor Mensa Otabil, the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church.
The Office of the former President had issued a statement confirming that a meeting of such nature had taken place and explained that Mr Kufuor had decided to invite heads of some religious denominations and some respectable citizens in the country who were not known members of the party to help broker peace and bring unity to the leadership of the party.
“I was not in Ghana”
But speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday, the Most Rev. Asante, who is also the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), said he was not in the country on July 9, the day the meeting reportedly took place.
“I was in Amsterdam and returned to Ghana on July 10 and so I was surprised to hear that a secret meeting had taken place and that I was part of that meeting,” he explained.
He suspected the reports to be an attempt by some people to put a partisan tag on him, adding, “I refuse to accept that.”
He pointed out that he was not a member of the NPP or any other political party.
He, however, indicated that as someone who voted in elections, he surely had preference for a political party but that was a secret.
“I have political allegiance. I vote, but that is a secret to me,” he stressed.
Ready to mediate in conflicts
Notwithstanding his denial, the NPC Chairman said he was ready to mediate in conflicts in the country, including those in political parties, because that was part of his duties as chairman of the NPC
“I have the responsibility to ensure that people live in peace in all facets of national life, including political parties,” he said.
Even then, he said, he would first have to inform his church and the NPC before going in to mediate.
“If somebody approaches me to mediate in conflicts, including political conflicts, I will inform the NPC and my church before going in to mediate,” he said.