A survey conducted by Afrobarometer and released by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) says leaders of religious and traditional institutions could be important assets in the fight against novel COVID-19.
The results of the Afrobarometer survey conducted in late 2019 suggest that religious and traditional leaders could be an important asset in this effort, since they enjoy greater popular trust and more contact with citizens than most other leaders.
A broader consultation with traditional and religious leaders who have close interaction with the people they lead might be an effective way to court public cooperation in the implementation of anti-COVID-19 measures.
The suggestion, which is more based scientific evidence, was that religious and traditional leaders are among the most trusted officials in Ghana, in percentages 64% and 55% respectively.
In fact, these leaders enjoy greater popular trust than parliamentarians (41%), assembly men and women (41%), and metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (38%).
Trust in religious and traditional leaders is high in most key socio-demographic groups. But rural, less uneducated, older, and relatively poor citizens tend to trust them more than their urban, younger, highly educated, and relatively well-off counterparts.
Thus Ghanaians are more likely to contact religious and traditional leaders than most other officials to discuss important problems.
Analysis of previous years’ results indicates that four in 10 respondents (40%) said in 2017 that they had contacted a religious leader at least once during the past year. One in four (26%) report having contacted a traditional leader in the year preceding the 2019 survey, compared to 20% for political party officials and 15% for parliamentarians.
Similarly, more than two-thirds (69%) of Ghanaians believe traditional leaders have “a lot” or “some” influence in the governance of their local communities, suggesting recognition of traditional leaders’ influence is widespread among key socio-demographic groups including urban, young, and economically well-off respondents.
In the Afrobarometer survey in late 2019, respondents were presented with a list of formal and informal leaders and asked, “How much do you trust each of the following?” Responses show that religious and traditional leaders are among the most trusted leaders in Ghana.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of citizens say they trust religious leaders “a lot” or “somewhat,” second only to the army.
Traditional leaders ranked fourth, just behind the president, with 55% of citizens saying they trust them “a lot” or “somewhat.” These two outrank other key public leaders, including members of Parliament (41%), assembly men and women (41%).
In totality, 73% of Ghanaian said they trust the Ghana Armed Forces than religious leaders (64%), the president (54%), traditional leaders (55%) and the Electoral Commission (53%).
The courts and the New Patriotic Party had (48%), assembly members and parliament (41%), Ghana Revenue Authority and police (39%), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (38%) and opposition parties (37%).
By Bernice Bessey / www.thechronicle.com.gh
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