Feature Article of Thursday, 15 November 2012
Columnist: Asempa, Kwame
Worn out and looking like someone who had just woken up from a deep trance, Osofo Adoko spoke in a hoarse, crackly voice, but he was loud enough for all to hear. Today, he stood in front of Kasayie radio studios asking the authorities to suspend the long anticipated soccer match between Ghana and Nigeria in two days. He said that disaster was on the way, that the stadium would collapse. Would the authorities listen to the man who speaks with God? Many call him a prophet to which he fiercely objected. He chose to refer to himself as an apostle. Material possessions did not interest him, a simple and humble man. He had confounded many critics by accurately pointing out where a missing 6yr old girl could be found. He had, a couple of years ago, predicted with laser accuracy, a hurricane in the United States, which saved many lives
Ok, let me backtrack. Actualy, Osofo Adoko is not real, he is just a fictional character like Ntikuma. When the Melcom building collapsed, a series of questions popped immediately into my head, that is when I thought about him. There had been many pastors and people who call themselves men of God in Ghana. They tell us that God speaks to them, that they can prophesy, that they can see what we mere mortals of the cannot comprehend.
Some of these “men of God” have tried to predict election results. Some like T. B. Joshua claim they can see or influence the outcome of soccer games. There are those who claim to see demonic, mami wata or sasabonsam spirits and claim to cast them out of people. The claims are many and most of the time outlandish, and they continue to be manufactured because we Africans fear to investigate these ridiculous claims.
These ‘prophets’say they are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and can curse those who speak out against them. Then there are those who claim they can heal the blind and raise the dead and speak to the elements. Like Jesus, they can ask the storm to be still. Some even claim they can survive a den of lions like Daniel. Many, at fancy miracle crusades claim they can cure AIDs, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and even leprosy. The irony is that wherever these ‘men of God” thrive, life exptancy is very low.
The million dollar question is why did they not see the Melcom building collapse? Why did they not see Accra Sports stadium crumbling? Why did they not see the cargo plane crash at Kotoka international Airport? Why don’t these ‘men of God’ see anything that can save lives. Not even once have any of these “men of God” prophesied to save a single life. Do they serve a different kind of God, who loves to play pranks? If they were Tigari priests, they would be the laughing stock of everyone.
Joseph in the Bible interpreted dreams that saved the lives of millions of people. He saw seven years of famine and seven years of bumper harvest. In Ghana and Nigeria, our ‘prophets’ would hear the ‘voice of God’ after the famine has devastated the land. They would then say we should pray and fast. They would blame the disaster on our sins or some generational or ancestral curse. The answers and solutions always come after the fact.
Can any of these men of God, for once, prophesy positively? Can they see something in the future, some disaster that can be averted like Joseph did? Can their prophecies save any lives? Where are the real men of God like Joseph? Where are the true men of God who are not in the church for the materialism- nice cars, nice houses and the trophy wife? Where are the selfless men of God? A little 5yr old girl has been lost from her home in Kasoa for the past three months, can any of these ‘men of God’ tell us where the innocent girl is?
They always have one answer to these questions. They would say God works in mysterious ways. When they contradict themselves and they fail miserably, they raise their arms hopelessly and claim God’s ways are not man’s way. These men of god criticize the Tigari priests and other traditional priests, but you are in trouble if you dare question what they do.
They can prophesy the death of Michael Jackson, they can prophesy an unknown plane clash, or a building burning in England. They tell us they prophesied, after it happens. When are they going to prophesy before it actually happens? Who cares about a prophecy that some ‘big man’ is going to die? Who does it benefit that a plane is going to clash if we don’t know the name of the flight and when?
God reveals to a man of God that Whitney Houston is going to die but he would not reveal that a building is going to collapse and kill people? How convenient! What a mysterious way God works! If these men of God were Muslim imams, these same ‘men of God’ would call them liars and charlatans.
We are told not to touch the lord’s anointed, so let’s say nothing. Even when Obinim rapes women in the church- touch not the Lord’s anointed. When Duncan-Williams divorces his wife- speak not against the man of God. Even when Bishop Eddie Long sleeps with boys in the church- speak not against God’s anointed. When the Catholic Church fathers molest innocent altar boys- shhhhh! Speak not against the men of God. When the poor and orphans in the church don’t get a penny of the tithes, but pastor lives opulently like the maharaja of India…Shhhh! Thou shall not touch the anointed one of God. Shhhhhhhhhh !