Pubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2006
Source: Accra Daily Mail, The (Ghana)
Copyright: 2006 Accra Daily Mail
Author: Isaac Essel


Reverend Deegbe Urges Ghanaians to Crusade Hard Against Hard Drug Use 
in the Country

Politicians and Ghanaians in general have been called upon to put 
behind their differences, and join forces to kick the hard drugs 
completely from the country, before it brings the dignity of the 
nation into irreparable dispute.

Rev. Fred Deegbe, the General Secretary of the Christian Council made 
the appeal in an interview with the ADM last weekend.

He pleaded: "We have a lot of goodwill from the world, we do not need 
this bad reputation for ourselves at this time".

He pointed out that the trafficking of cocaine in Ghana has been a 
contributory factor to the perception of corruption the country is 
grappling with.

"Drugs are linked with a lot of corruption" as dealers "bribe people 
to get their way, use easy money to influence customs and public 
officials, which leads to a corrupting effect on the country's system 
of justice, custom, police, military and even politics."

He said Ghanaians have come to realize how bad cocaine is and the 
current raging issue "is a wake up call for all of us. People see 
politics in Ghana as party A or B; I think they should begin to see 
this thing as a challenge that is facing us as a nation, because it 
goes beyond the blame game".

Ghana, he lamented, "does not deserve that notorious reputation"

Rev. Deegbe said the issue transcends partisan politics and 
politicizing the issue would trivialize the Georgina Woode 
committee's work and would not help the country get to "the root of 
the problem."

"For those who have power, they should use their power for us to 
correct this. Let's move and look at the larger issue rather than 
getting into this party politics", he said.

He remarked that whether you are in power or opposition, the drug 
menace is capable of putting the whole country at risk.

"If anybody went outside this country, I don't think in the passport 
it would show whether you are for party A or B. You would be seen as 
a Ghanaian and would be treated as such, and if your country has a 
bad reputation you would be treated as a Ghanaian or a person coming 
from a country with a very bad reputation."

Rev. Fred Deegbe stated that drugs could cause people to have blurred 
vision, metaphorically and in reality, which impairs their judgment 
to decipher what is right and wrong and other moral considerations.

"Consumers become temporarily high and they do certain things they 
would normally not want to do or say. The moral effect is dangerous, 
they want to do anything they can to sustain the habit even if they 
have to kill, rob and rape. These people would do anything to fuel 
this habit and therefore we are all at risk"

For producers, he said they are after their money and are therefore 
not concerned about the effect drugs have on people, society and the 
nation as a whole.

He cautioned the media about irresponsible reporting but urged them 
not to relent in their crusade against drug-related issues.

"The important thing for us is that the truth should come out for us 
to know who are behind all of this, what was brought in, where did it 
go, is some still in the system? So I would not attack the media for 
what is happening, if only what they are doing would help us find the 
truth and kick this habit out of this country".

Rev. Deegbe questioned the sources of money some politicians dish out 
during campaigns. "We should ask them where they get their money from".

He was worried about how Ghanaian values "have been shifted."

Quoting a popular Ghanaian saying he concluded with these words: "We 
should know that good name is better than riches. Whenever people are 
going for riches by whatever means they should know that drug 
trafficking is bad, it's use is addictive, destructive and we must 
kick it out of Ghana". 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake