General News of Monday, 7 January 2019
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), four political parties and the police have condemned prophecies made by men of God that point to the deaths of prominent personalities within the country.
As much as they condemned such practices, they also condemned associated acts of vandalism that followed such prophecies by some segments of the society.
The common thread that ran through the positions of the various entities was that religion and its nuances, in the best interest of all, should be limited to the confines of believers of a particular religion and not transcend its boundaries to other religions.
That, they said, might constitute a recipe for outcomes that might not be in the corporate interest of the country.
That was after the Daily Graphic sought their views in separate interviews, in the wake of recent prophecies by one Prophet Isaac Owusu Bempah of the Word and Power Ministry International, during his church’s December 31, 2018 watchnight service that gave pointers to the death of, among others, the national Chief Imam, Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, other leading political figures, as well as personnel of some media houses.
In his reaction, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Mr Mohammed Frimpong, said: “As a matter of fact, burying our heads into the cloud of spirituality and this matter of prophecy is very retrogressive. We are all religious but religion must strictly be a private matter, not until we recognise that religion is private and must be reserved to its followers if it becomes blatant, then it will be a recipe for chaos in the future and that is not the best.”
The position of the NDP is derived from the explanation by Mr Frimpong that the spate of prophecies spelling doom would not do anything good for the national interest.
“Our peaceful co-habitation as Christians, Traditionalists or Moslems must be preserved. Unfortunately, this act is stirring the hornet’s nest and bringing a lot of confusion upon the nation. We are all very religious but we should not put that forward as a mark of our personalities because, certainly, if you do that you will clash with a number of people,” he added.
The first Vice Chairman of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Mr John Amekah, opined that “Christianity, as a religion, is different from Islam” and that Moslems had a certain discipline that would not allow its followers to come out and say things of that nature, stressing that the expectation would be that other religious denominations would not come out to speak about them in a manner that would not be in good taste.
“All religious leaders should have known this,” he said, adding that Prophet Owusu Bempah treaded on an area where he should not have.
But, “we want to plead with the youth who went on rampage that the warning they have served is enough and there is no need to overact.”
While the NCCE, through its Chairperson, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, was of the view that people should not hide under the guise of religion and commit acts of hooliganism and lawlessness, it advised that all Ghanaians need to be circumspect of their pronouncements. The NCCE urged the police to investigate and deal with persons who engaged in acts of vandalism at the premises of the Word and Power Ministry International following the pronouncements by Prophet Owusu Bempah.
The Communications Director of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Paa Kow Ackon, posited that prophecies of doom did not inure to the benefit of Ghanaians and that if something was revealed to a man of God that someone was going to die, the most appropriate thing to do was to go to the individual and reveal whatever God had shown to the person but to make such public pronouncements was tantamount to causing fear and panic.
He said it had become more or less an annual ritual that every December 31 night, one would expect such “death results” adding that “it does not augur well for us.”
The Leader and Founder of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Mr Kofi Akpaloo, advised that “if God shows you things of this nature, all you can do is to pray about it with your church so that it can be overturned by divine favour instead of coming on air without even giving the people the opportunity to hear it for the first time.”
On discipline and rule of law, he said: “The reactions from the youth must be condemned. The fact that he said the man might die does not mean the man is going to die and so I do not see the need for the youth to go and destroy properties. The police and interior minister must act. We should all learn lessons from this that it is not everybody who supports these sorts of things.”
Meanwhile, the police administration has served notice that such prophecies have the tendency of breaching public peace and causing fear and panic in the country.
The police administration, has, therefore, cautioned such prophets to be mindful of the security implications of their utterances.
It said that media reportage and interpretations on such matters were also disturbing and urged editors, media practitioners, discussants and owners of media establishments to be circumspect and exercise the necessary editorial responsibility to ensure that the media was not used as a tool for aiding the breach of peace and causing fear and panic.