Only a ‘mad’ person keeps running after handing over baton – Martey defends silence under Akufo-Addo gov’t

Former outspoken Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev Prof Emmanuel Martey, has defended his silence under the Akufo-Addo government, insisting that only the current Moderator can make public pronouncements on behalf of the church per its constitution.

“You know, the revelations, practice and procedure of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Spirit of our constitution is that the Presbyterian Church of Ghana has only one representative to speak on behalf of the church and that person is the moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana not past moderators but serving moderator”, he explained at a public lecture in Koforidua, Eastern Region on Tuesday, 24 May 2022,

“And, for me, my understanding of leadership is that, especially in the Church’s setting, leadership is like a relay race: when the baton is given to you, you run as fast as you could and when you get to the next person, you hand over the baton and stop running”.

“If you hand over the baton and you continue running, anyone who does that is mad”, he said.

The former Moderator, nonetheless noted that he still speaks but has only modified his mode of speaking.

“Rev. Prof Martey is still speaking but has changed the style”, he announced.

“Those I need to communicate with them, I communicate, sometimes through text messages and a lot of things have happened because of my intervention. So, I’m still speaking”, he said.

In August 2016, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was then the 2016 presidential candidate of the now-governing New Patriotic Party, described Prof Martey, who, at the time, was the outgoing Moderator, as a “remarkable man who has given contemporary meaning to the concept of a true Presbyterian: fearless, hardworking and passionate about the pursuit of justice.”

Describing the entire period in office of Reverend Martey as “a most refreshing time,” Nana Akufo-Addo noted that “there has certainly not been one boring moment during his tenure as Moderator, as he has rendered service to the Church, to Ghana and to mankind.”

According to him, “we, who are politicians, might not always have been comfortable with some of his pronouncements (and as the Moderator knows, I have firsthand experience of that!); but I suspect Professor Martey would not consider it his duty to put any politician in a comfort zone.”

He continued, “It is not his style, and it is fair to say he has kept his eyes firmly on his primary goal of protecting the vulnerable and disadvantaged, as he has spoken some very uncomfortable truths. His energy and ever-challenging opinions have brought public discourse to a higher level in our country.”

The NPP flag bearer at the time made this known on Monday, August 22, 2016, while addressing the 16th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, at Abetifi, Kwahu, in the Eastern Region.

The General Assembly, amongst others, was set at the time to elect Prof Martey’s successor.

Nana Akufo-Addo further noted that Prof. Martey, while as Moderator, conducted himself with dignity and elegance even when faced with extreme provocation, stating that “it has certainly been a joy and a good lesson for the rest of us to have had the privilege of watching” him.

“I don’t know what ex-Moderators do, but something tells me we shall be hearing more from this irreplaceable man. His voice will certainly be needed as we go into this election period and beyond,” he added.


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