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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Columnist: Ing. Ernest Bonnah

Did Dr. Kwabena Duffour pay his tithe?

Ghanaians met with mixed reactions news of the Bank of Ghana approved take-over of UT Bank and Capital Bank by the GCB Bank somewhere last year.

Whilst the experts were discussing the probable divergent consequences of this take-over in the banking industry, the not-so-savvy armchair bankers were definitely not left out.

So many technical reasons were ascribed to the downfall of the two indigenous banks. In a country where everyone is an expert in his/her own right, you expected coherent analysis of the issue devoid of any frivolous attempt to piss in to score cheap political and spiritual points. I guess I was disappointed it did not happen like that.

Two banks had actually gone down but it seemed as if the focus was just on one, UT Bank. The biggest question was why. Years ago, President of UT Holdings, Prince Kofi Amoabeng granted an interview giving reasons why he does not believe in tithing. To him, he would rather continue to engage in philanthropic works rather than tithing.

Spiritual gurus and experts in economics and banking in the supernatural realm were then quick to posit that this his supposed benighted conviction and disbelief in tithing accounted for the collapse of his empire. On a couple of social media platforms, I had banters with some Christian friends who could not believe I did not share that same bizarre stance.

What beat my imagination then and continues to do, was the fact that the other bank had on its board one of the leading spiritual leaders of our generation as its chair. So I asked, “Did Dr. Mensah Otabil pay his tithe?” Did I get I answer to this question then? Your guess is as good as mine.

When the not-so-surprising news came out yesterday about the take-over of Unibank Ghana Limited by the Bank of Ghana, I just took a moment to recollect all the discussions I had with people vis-à-vis the UT/ Capital Banks take-over. Did the BoG take-over Unibank because Dr. Kwabena Duffour has not been faithfully paying his tithe as well?

I am eagerly waiting for all my spiritual bankers who I know are very much alive today to come up with the theories behind the take-over of Unibank. This is not to say I am gloating over this singular act of BoG. However, it is very important to clearly point out the fact that our belief system is very much paranoid.

Sermons are prepared based on the misfortune of others. We are led to give thanks to God in church because we are not like the people out there going through one unfortunate situation or the other. To suit our parochial spiritual interest, Christians pick and choose on issues like in the UT/Capital Bank just to make a case and provide a weak basis for our neophytic positions. My question then is, “Can’t we make a defense for what we believe in without recourse to the predicaments of others?”

The banking industry is hugely challenged in this country. I am not a professional banker and I will not attempt to behave like I know all the problems going on in the industry. However, my short stint working with one of the collapsed banks provided for me a glimpse of how things work in this industry. In 2016, experts in the industry made a lot of assertions about the liquidity issues affecting the indigenous banks in the industry.

Predictions were made about the possible collapse of eight banks dues to their inability to meet the capital adequacy ratios. I doubt anyone sensitive to the banking industry will actually be surprised about what is going in this sector. I guess the writings were so clear on the wall.

Despite all these well-known documented facts, we continue to bury our heads in our expertise as spiritual know-it-alls thinking we are doing God a favor by fighting his battles for him. The idea of God is to see humanity prosper not only in our walk with him but in our businesses as well. I am of the conviction that every single principle of business has its root in the Bible.

However, most messages on the pulpits have lost touch with reality so much so that they do not trickle down to affect our everyday lives. We have many unbalanced Christians today seemingly having a good spiritual walk with God and a weak attitude towards work. We think we are being victimized when we are not allowed to spend at least thirty minutes in prayers at work.

Thus, we resort to binding all sorts of demons created by the figments of our own imaginations. The impact of our walk with God should translate into our every dealings and not only on our way to church on Sundays.

Let me clearly state that I am a firm believer in tithing and I gladly do so. My belief in tithing is however informed by my status as a son of God and not the slave that I was. It is very important we grow our faith in the perspective of God and not continuously dwell on slavery mentality of what some people call Christianity. God through Christ brought unto us liberty which should lead us to think differently.

When issues come up for discussion, let us not quickly put on our spiritually skewed goggles narrowing every single issue to spirituality when indeed the solution is right in front of you.

Our faith in God is to make us excellent people even among the non-believers by enforcing the will of the Father in this earthly realm. Let us all learn and read more to build our mental capacities. We can never effect the change God wants by looking at things only through one frame of reference.