Jerry John Rawlings in a handshake with Osofweo Komfo Atsu Kove
Drama unfolded at the Ridge Office of Mr Jerry John Rawlings yesterday when he denied campaigning for President John Mahama in the 2012 elections, as the leadership of the neo-traditional movement Afrikania Mission called on him.
Mr Rawlings, founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), told his guests bluntly that he did not campaign for Mr Mahama in the 2012 electioneering campaign.
The African tradition believers were at the office of the former president to invite the ‘old man’ for a planned event (African Spirituality Exhibition) scheduled for September 21, 2015.
But even before they could inform Mr Rawlings of the event, one of the priests, Osofo Professor Kwakuvi Azasu, a lecturer at the University College of Education, Winneba, who acted as spokesman for the group, raised issue with the current administration’s decision to ban the pouring of libation at State functions.
The group was led by the head of the Afrikania Mission, Osofo Komfo Atsu Kove.
The pouring of libation was banned at State functions during the presidency of the late President Mills and his then Vice, John Mahama. President Mahama has since not restored the practice.
Prof Kwakuvi Azasu however believed that it was not good for the country since Ghana was not only made up of Christians and Muslims but also traditionalists; hence the need to restore the pouring of libation, an African traditional religious practice.
That, he said, was one of the reasons they thought it wise to call on the former President so he would impress upon President John Mahama to restore the practice because he (Rawlings) campaigned for Mahama to win the 2012 general elections.
But Mr Rawlings would have none of that.
Even before the Professor could end his speech, Mr Rawlings interrupted with a quick response: ‘No, no, no; I didn’t campaign for Mahama,’ throwing all present into laughter.
He therefore sought to correct the impression.
The message did not seem to have sunk with the Professor, who repeated his claim that the former President campaigned for John Mahama, compelling Mr Rawlings to reiterate his position that he never campaigned for Mahama to become President.
That notwithstanding, Mr Rawlings appreciated their concerns over the ban of the libation pouring at State functions since he saw it as part of not only Ghanaian tradition, but African traditional religion.
According to him, ‘to take a position that rejects libation pouring is most unfortunate’, insisting that ‘we are turning our backs on our ancestors and that’s not good enough.’
This, he said, had partly given way to an era where lies had become the order of the day.
He indicated that people could lie with the Bible and the Quran and get away with it; but when one mentioned Nogokpo (the dreaded shrine in the Volta Region) then liars ran away.
He decried how his own party, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), a party he described as ‘liberators’, had ended up restoring and perpetuating a class rule in the country.
Mr Rawlings said he was looking forward to attending the exhibition slated for September 21, 2015.
On his part, head of the Afrikania Mission, Osofo Komfo Atsu Kove, expressed worry over government’s intransigence in restoring the pouring of libation at State functions, stressing the need for the NDC to revise the decision since ‘traditionalists are also part of religious bodies in this country.’
Apart from that, he claimed the other religious bodies were indoctrinating Ghanaians about African and Ghanaian traditional religion, reducing it to idol worship, when indeed all of them use the name of God in their worship.
‘The Religious and Moral Education (RME) which is supposed to teach morality is now turned into evangelisation. They force the children to believe that Jesus died for their sins; they should respect Abraham and Jacob more than their ancestors Komfo Anokye, Togbe Tsali, Dr Kwame Nkrumah,’ he noted with concern.
Osofo Komfo Kove therefore asked Mr Rawlings to impress upon President Mahama and the ruling NDC to give respect to African traditional religion.
Members of the Afrikania Mission had earlier threatened not to vote during the 2016 general elections if the decision banning the pouring of libation at public functions was not reversed.
‘We have been witnesses to a situation where libations were prohibited at State functions by Government,’ Osofo Kove lamented during a gathering of the National Convention of Afrikania Mission at the Jubilee Park, Ho, in the Volta Region recently.
He expressed disappointment at what he described as an ‘unfair’ and ‘unfortunate’ discrimination against Ghanaian traditionalists.
In his opinion, it was an insult to the dignity of Africans and for that matter Ghanaians, ‘to fall on leaders of foreign religions at State functions for prayer, while prohibiting our holy libation prayer.’
That, for him, was distasteful to the African culture, considering the fact that long before the introduction of colonialism, Africans had their own way of life which included ancestral worship, entailing the pouring of libation.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
This article has 0 comment, leave your comment.