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Opinions of Sunday, 4 September 2016

Columnist: Solomon Mensah

Talking Drum: Still! Mr. Moderator ‘Biegya!’

“Yes…! What don’t you understand?”

The very patient teacher would ask the back-benchers for clarification on what they say they didn’t understand. For some of us, just the mere topic “Mathematics” written on the board was enough sleeping tablet. So, this teacher, Reverend Nyame Duodoo, had no problem in the hands of the sleeping students.

Indeed, Rev. Duodoo was patient. Not even the annoying response of “the whole show” from a student – to wit he/she did not understand everything taught – pissed him off. He had heard we called him Ja Rule because whenever it was time for his class, he will show up with his file capped under his armpit. He was “Always on Time.”

Yet, he was not perturbed. But that afternoon at the 3Arts3 classroom at the then Sunyani Secondary School, Rev. Duodoo was worried. Some students had seen him riding a bicycle on campus and the ‘news’ had gone viral. For these okra[o]-mouth-students, he was not expected to be in the bracket of bicycle riders.

Silly, it sounds? Unfortunately, our larger society turns to make similar remarks about some group of people we think are too holy to comment on national politics. Indeed, so men who propagate the gospel are seen as such.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the back and forth about the news of the controversial preacher, Bishop Obinim and the infamous Montie 3 got drowned in the wake of the outgoing Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana’s $100, 000 bribe claim.

Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 made a claim that some politicians attempted to bribe him with an amount of $100, 000 in order to tame him. “Politicians had tried all means to muzzle me, to get me but they can’t, they come with bribes, fat envelopes, $100,000.

“[They also come with] the promises that if you keep quiet, we will give you a house at Trasacco with swimming pool… We will give you Four Wheel drive. But you know what; these people were lucky that I do not have big dogs in my house else I would have released the dogs for them to bite them.” Could Prof. Martey’s claim be true? Well, this has been one question that has been tossed like a dice on Ghanaian media’s ludu and I would not want to base my argument on it.

After all, you and I were not there. My concern has to do with some people who say Prof. Martey is a minister of God and should be remained as such without talking politics.

So, what is politics and who can talk politics? In an article on dated August 31, 2016 and titled “Rev Martey ‘can now wear NPP jersey,’”General Secretary ofthe National Democratic Congress, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, is reported to have asked Prof. Martey to go public with his affiliation with the opposition New Patriotic Party.

“He can wear the NPP shirt and walk around, and possibly, the NPP can choose him as the running mate or the flagbearer…that will help him instead of hiding behind the Presbyterian Church to make unguarded comments.” In our country called Ghana, many are those who have pretended and still pretending deaf and dumb for fear of being tagged as an NPP or NDC if they commented on political issues.

But if men of God have voter’s card and they are equally legally allowed to vote, then, why do we attack them when they criticize policies or ideas of a sitting government or the opposition respectively? Prof. Martey, we know, has been very critical with the sitting government, but does it in anyway make him an NPP? Who would have thought that former Supper Morning Show host of Joy FM, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah,was/is an NPP member? In the Election 2012, Mr. Nkrumah was the lead anchor of his station’s election coverage and he projected victory for the NDC.

This, his own party members [who perhaps never knew he was with them] would chase Joy FM’s reporters in town threatening to beat them up. Sad enough, we often draw conclusions of people who criticize us as being our enemies.

If General Mosquito and the NDC in general prefer Ghanaians keep quiet and watch things unfold in wait of another election period, they should tell us. I think that it was totally below the belt when General Mosquito added that: “If he [Prof. Martey] wears the NPP jersey openly, we can then attack him when he make political comments but if he wants to be neutral, then he should not talk about political issues.”

According to the White House, President Obama reads 10 letters from Americans across the country every night. In one of his response to a young lady, who had sent her letter via Facebook Messenger,Obama encouraged her. “As you continue to advance your education, find your voice and seek out opportunities to make the world a better place.

I encourage you to speak up on the issues that matter to you,” wrote the world’s most powerful man to Kathleen. Indeed, Prof. Martey and men who seek the good of Ghana will and must continue to speak on issues that matter to them.

While you choose to do so, in Ghana, remember the attacks will definitely come as they are tearing the man of God to shreds. But relax and take a cue from Mahatma Gandhi. He once opined: “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”