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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Columnist: Sidibe, Abdul

Is Prof. Mills the Commander in Chief or the Pastor in Chief?

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Recent pronouncement of the President of the Ghana sounds like the President is presiding over a religious cult. If Prof. Mills cannot rationally govern, then he should resign and give those who believe in the strength and might of the human mind the chance to lead Ghana. The reason is that leaders who believe in the human potentials do not ask their citizens to lock themselves up and fast for a week for manners to descend from heaven.
First, it was a controversy regarding the president and some scam pastor in Nigeria alleged to be the President religious confidant, who claimed that he was spiritually behind the victory of Ghana’s National team over Brazil in the last Under 20 world cup. Then he asked all citizens to pray and fast for a week. The week long fasting culminated in the statement he made yesterday before a gathering of the nation’s churches. “Let’s continue to pray so that God himself becomes president of our nation,” the President said amid cheers from the religious leaders. The statement was outrageous that it sounded almost delusional. Who knows what President Mills would ask next? Perhaps he would ask Ghanaians not to question his administration because God, and not Ghanaians, elected him into office.
Mr. President, which God do you want to be president? Is it the Christian God, the Muslim God, Buddhist God, the millions of Indian Gods, or the countless of Ghanaian Gods? If you care to know to Mr. President, God cannot be the President because God is not accountable, he is not responsible, and his existence is doubted by some. If you believe God created you, then tell all our schools and universities to stop teaching biology because since Darwin, the basic assumption of science is that all humans evolved. You may disagree all you want, but the evident is disprovable, it has been used for further studies from genetics to medicine. That’s why for hundreds of years humans, and not Gods, were presidents. Ghanaians elected President Mills and not President God. We elected you to govern and not to preach. So please govern and stop that God!!, God!!! God!!!! thing.
Mr. President, in case you have forgotten, gone are the days of Moses; manners no longer descend from the skies. Nations that prosper are not the most religious and most pious of all. In fact it has been observed that there is a correlation between religiosity and poverty. Prosperous nations don’t waste their time ask their citizens to pray and fast, instead they encourage their people to work hard, and innovate. They invest in science and technology and not in seminaries, monasteries and prayer camps.
In no country is Karl Max’s mockery of religion as the “opium of the masses” so true than in Ghana. Many people in Ghana assign every problem to God. If a Ghanaian becomes sick or even dies, it is God who made him sick or killed him. Even as he/she litters around and as a result causes mosquitoes to breed and other germs to develop and grow. Ghanaians have allowed religion to cloud their sense of rationality so much so that even the simplest of problems can’t be resolved without invoking some empty religious rhetoric’s.
We are not faulting the president for practicing his religion. We are also not faulting him for speaking at a religious gathering. Our problem with the President is the manner with which he is willing to drag the office of the president in religious waters as if the presidency is equivalent to the office of the Grand Ayatollah of Iran. Ghana is not a religious state. It is a constitutional democracy. We are not governed by the bible, the Qur’an or any religious document. The governing document in Ghana is the 1992 constitution. The constitution guarantees the freedom of religion as well as the freedom not to be religious. In Ghana you can decide not practice any religion and be a good citizen.
It is therefore worrying for the president to force religion down our throat using his office. I know this piece might test sour to my NDC friends, but sometimes it is important to speak your mind. I am still a staunch supporter of the NDC, and a practicing Muslim. But President Mills is very often irritating; no that wonder some within party are critical of him.
Abdul Sidibe
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