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Friday, June 14, 2024

BAWUMIA, GIVE ONTO CEASER WHAT IS CEASER’S

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In those days of yore, in our primary schools, they used to have school teams. Among these school teams were certain pupils who could be described as the ‘stars’ of the team. They could dribble, score, and generally demonstrate to those of us mere mortals watching, that they were destined for something special.

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Once in a while, among these blessed lot, a player would emerge who would be tagged as ‘Emaaa kamfo’ (seeker of the praise from the gallery). These type of players do not necessarily play to score. They play to impress the gallery, the watchers.

Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, the Flag Bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), reminds me of these players. Listening to him, I get the impression that his main goal in life is not necessarily to become a good president for the Republic of Ghana, but that he could win the admiration of every single identifiable voter-group in Ghana.

So, even though he is a practicing Muslim, he has no qualms about visiting Christian congregations, singing hymns, getting on his knees to be prayed for before images of the Jesus Christ, and if it is necessary, eating communion. If that is what he has to do to win the Christian vote, he seems prepared to do it.

A typical Emaaa kamfo player.

For instance, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has stated that as President, he would not allow the LGBTQs whatever movement in Ghana. The fact is that the President has no such power to ban any association of people in Ghana today, unless the President is able and willing to act contrary to the 1992 Constitution and go against the grain of the law. It is something that Bawumia should know, or more likely than not, knows. But he would stand in front of Christian and Muslim leaders and say with the bravest of faces that as President, he would ban this or that. He is, of course, lying to the Christian and Muslim leaders, but like a typical Emaaa kamfo player, he would maintain his act.

Again, like the Emaaa kamfo player that he is, Dr. Bawumia says that he would not tax churches when he is given power. Once again, as President, he would only be in a position to propose tax policy to Parliament. It is only parliament that has the power to dictate tax policy, which taxes to accept, and which to reject. But there he was, making the claim that he would not tax churches.

There is also an even bigger concern with the latter issue, which is the issue of the condition of health of Ghana’s economy.

As the chairman of the Economic Management Team of the current government, Dr. Bawumia has comfortably led Ghana into debt talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because Ghana is not able to pay its debts. Dr. Bawumia was drafted into politics over his alleged knowledge on economic matters. Indeed, ahead of the 2016 general elections, his main mantra was the economy and how badly it was being managed by the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government. Fast forward nearly seven years, and Dr. Bawumia has moved forward from the economy. He has found a new fad, digitization, and the economy, which he presided over and which he was to address, has taken an unprecedented nosedive.

But he still wants to be president.

Which brings us to the matter of his pledge not to tax churches. This is a serious matter, which the very churches he is seeking to impress, should have rejected. Because paying taxes is not the approved teaching of Jesus Christ, which most churches in Ghana claim to follow.

You see, once upon a time, according to the Bible, some Jewish leaders wanted to trap Jesus Christ and set him up against Rome. So they went to him and asked him if they should pay taxes to Ceaser, the King of Rome.

The whole story can be found in Mark 12, and the exact verse is at Mark 12;17, where it says; “And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.”

This demonstrates, that taxes are biblically approved. Throughout the history of the Jews, from among whom Jewish Christ emerged, it was generally recognized that everybody must pay his bit. When they fell under Roman control, they paid even more. So that the Bible itself recognizes that taxes has to be paid.

And it stands to reason. The job of government, really, is to provide public goods such as roads, hospitals, schools, security (police, military, others of the like), protection (against fire for instance), provision of necessary mass information, governance and many more. These activities cost money, and they are for the benefit of all, including churches. Therefore, anybody who promises that major fund raising organizations such as churches should not pay tax, should do so with greater care and thought than Bawumia is exhibiting.

He ought to be taught the lesson of Mark 12;17- Pay unto Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser.

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