NANA KWASI Agyeman, popularly called Gemann, who was released on January 9 this year following a pardon by ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor has been sharing with fans on various media networks how he received the news of his freedom.
Gemann told Kwaku Sekyi-Addo on Ã¢â‚¬ËœKwaku One-On-OneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ last Sunday that he was with his friends when the unexpected news got to him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A day before my release I was sitting with some of my colleagues under a tree on the main compound of the Ankafo Prisons when the regional commander called me and one of my colleagues.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought it was one of the normal calls but when we met him, he said he had a word from the prisons headquarters that the Government is going to release us so we should get ready. I ran back to my cell and went on my knees, and from there I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what happened between me and God,Ã¢â‚¬Â he recounted.
Gemann spent 7 years in the condemn cell while on death row but had his sentence later reduced to life imprisonment.
During his time at the condemn cell, Gemann hinted, nobody was killed in that prison. The death row cell, according to him, was not spacious as 6 of them struggled to sleep due to overcrowding.
While in the condemn cells waiting for his death sentence, Gemann said he was optimistic that one day he would walk a free man. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes I did,Ã¢â‚¬Â he told Kwaku Sekyi-Addo when asked whether he saw his freedom coming while on death row.
He added: Ã¢â‚¬Å“There were nights that everything seemed to be black that you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see a way out. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see light at the end of the tunnel and you ask yourself Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwhen is this day coming? Is this day ever going to come?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
I have done everything humanly possible to ask for forgiveness; I prayed, fasted and sometimes when amnesty came my name was not on the list. I lost all my appeals. It was just the doing of the Lord. I guess God was not done with me yet. God was still working on me, moulding and shaping me.
I think the waiting was very difficult. Even Prison officers who work in the prisons for eight hours, when they come, they feel restless. So you can imagine being in a particular place continually for so many years.Ã¢â‚¬Â
According to him, he has repented from his old life and given his life to Christ.
He told Citi FM yesterday that he repented the day after he was convicted. Subsequently he set up a fellowship in the prison where he preached to colleagues and managed to win souls for Christ.
After his release on January 9, 2009 Gemann said he first called his elder sister who lives at Dansoman, a suburb of Accra, to come and pick him but asked her not to tell anybody. The next person he said he called was his daughter in Holland who turns 18 next month but she did not believe the news. But later when she did, it was all tears of joy.
Two weeks ago, he revealed, he visited the family of Kwasi Agyei, the taxi driver he shot leading to his incarceration.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The encounter was great. I was humbled by their kindness and the way they received me, because when we were going into the house I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what was going to happen or what to expect. I was nervous.
But you see, the Bible says in Proverbs 16:7 that when a man ways please the Lord, He makes him to be at peace even with his enemies. That was the scripture that was guiding me. That was the scripture I went into the house with.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I prayed for them over the years when I was in prison. Anytime I went on my knees, I say whatever wounds I have created may God heal those wounds. So I believe, for God bringing me back, I have to see the family.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The family, he said, forgave him and even gave him pieces of advice. He also met with the wife of the late taxi driver.
However, Gemann made a passionate appeal for the prisons to be given a critical look. According to him there are a lot of people who are in prison for crimes they did not commit. He therefore called on the law enforcement agencies to take a look at the situation.
Gemann indicated that he had sent proposals to go to police cells to preach the word of God.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be going to all the police cells to preach to the inmates because thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the starting point. The cell is the place that leads to the prison so if a person can even accept the Lord in police cells before being sent to prison, then the person has something he can hope for,Ã¢â‚¬Â he pointed out.
Gemann hinted that he intends to help prisoners in the country with basic needs, adding that after being in prison for close to 14 years he is aware of the deprivation and psychological trauma many prisoners go through.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show yesterday, he stated that simple things like visiting a prisoner could make a whole lot of difference in their lives.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is somebody in the prison who has never been visited before by relatives or by anybody and just a simple visit can make a whole lot of difference in their lives.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The ex-convict made an appeal for support to his ministry saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even if it is an old cloth that you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need and want to put in the garbage, if I can get it, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll send it to the prison because in prison men wear womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clothes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Commenting on the relationship between him and the family of the man he shot some years ago, he said it was a cordial one and that he had been forgiven by the family and was now practically part of the family.
Gemann, a musician cum dancer who was well known for his Ã¢â‚¬ËœCalypso DanceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ hit, it would be recalled, was handed a death sentence for killing a 35-year old taxi driver, Kwasi Agyei in 1995.
Ã‚Â By Francis Addo