Scores of National Democratic Congress (NDC) members who thronged the Dela Cathedral of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ho to welcome Tsatsu Tsikata and thank God for his release from prison were on Wednesday treated to a long sermon.
The sermon which was taken from the Acts of the Apostles was preached by no other person than Mr. Tsikata himself with a large Ã¢â‚¬ËœcongregationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ who initially listened with rapt attention.
Apparently fed up with the long message from the freed man which took about an hour or more, some of the Ã¢â‚¬ËœcongregantsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ began to walk out of the beautifully designed cathedral obviously to say Ã¢â‚¬Å“the preacher was talking too much.Ã¢â‚¬Â
First to begin leaving the hall were students from some basic and second cycle schools who filled the balcony, then some of those who were in the main hall.
But for an intervention by the MC, the hall would have been empty before the Ã¢â‚¬ËœpreacherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ completed his message.
Mr. Tsikata, the former Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) boss who was jailed for Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwillfully causing financial loss to the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, built his sermon on Biblical quotations from Acts 16:19-26 which reads:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans and the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safelyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Comparing his release to that of Paul and Silas, Mr. Tsikata said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The miracle that opened the prison gate that Sunday morning happened because there was an earthquake and that earthquake happened within me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mr. Tsikata further compared his experience in the Nsawam prisons to that of Paul and Silas, adding that the asthmatic attack he had on the night of December 15 was the most devastating in his life even though he has been an asthmatic patient since he was four years old.
He said despite the intensity of the attack throughout the night, the hand of God was upon him and that saved him from dying.
He also criticized the prison system of the country, saying over 1200 people are languishing in the prisons without any legal basis for being there. He said some have been there for 14 years and others over seven years without trials.
He condemned a Daily Graphic report that only about 300 people are in prison custody without trials, saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“why do we have to hide the truth when it is so glaring.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mr. Tsikata bemoaned the health conditions of prisoners across the country, and stated his commitment to ensuring that something is done about the situation.
Mr. Tsikata further alleged that ex-President Kufuor had always showed his determination to get him jailed at all cost, saying some of those close to the ex-President often came to tell him about the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plans.
Ms Esther Cobbah, wife of Mr. Tsikata, expressed her appreciation to the people of the Volta region for their support during Ã¢â‚¬Å“the difficult momentsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
She compared the final judgment on her husband by Justice Henrietta Abban to a situation where anyone would be ask to defend himself in the law court in the absence of his/ her lawyer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Or if you are sick and you report at the hospital for a surgery and your surgeon is not available then you would be made to perform the surgery on yourself; TsatsuÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s case is a traditional sense and one does not need any legal interpretation to it,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
The Tsatsu Thanks All ceremony was attended by hundreds of well-wishers including Kwesi Pratt of the Insight newspaper.
From Wise Donkor, Ho