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Opinions of Saturday, 10 May 2008

Columnist: Asare-Addai, John

Bishop Elvina Miller: Kindly Show Prampram And ...

Bishop Elvina Miller: Kindly Show Prampram And Its People The Respect They Deserve.

The feud between the Bishop of Oasis of Love Churches in Ghana Elvina Miller, the clergyman Dr. Charles Andoh, and the people of Prampram, mainly spearheaded by Mr. Samuel Doku’s tedious campaign against the book “Captured in Africa: A True incredible Story” makes an exciting reading these days. The most recent episode appeared in a feature article on the Ghanaweb and ModernGhana sites (Friday 2nd. May 2008), “Dr. Andoh defends Bishop Miller’s Racist literature”.

The article which provided an in-depth reply to Dr. Charles Andoh’s own article that featured in a Ghanaian media last year, accused Mr. Doku for his mounted campaign against the author Bishop Miller with no better reason other than as a witch-hunt. The latest feature article by Mr. Samuel Doku confirms the learned Christian Cleric, Dr. Charles Andoh to be systematically defending the author, Bishop Miller, her faith and of course the controversial book at length.

The standoff between the principal duo, the writer of the said comprehensive feature article, Mr. Doku and the defender of the faith, Dr. Charles Andoh is basically about the content of the afore-mentioned book. I believe the two men now engaged in this epic battle of wits have never met each other before, but are only drawn to this fight – one for the love and strength of his faith pitched in contrast to the other’s love of his native land and brave people of Prampram.

The “true” story told in the book is mainly about the people of Prampram in 1954, when the Bishop arrived from America to supposedly introduce Christianity to the town. It is the authenticity of this account purporting to be what the Bishop saw and discretely thought of the natives of this small provincial town, recorded in the book, now promoted on her website and selling world-wide bringing in profitable rewards to the author and Bishop at the expense of the Prampram people that has been the root cause of this dispute.

Some of the “true” stories narrated in the book about Prampram and its people seemed false, far fetched, beyond comprehension and unsubstantiated, as such the book’s content has always been denied, highly criticised and disputed by Mr. Samuel Doku as can be seen in all his feature articles. He wants the book withdrawn from circulation immediately with future re-prints stopped. On the other side of the argument the book and its content is deemed fair to deserve defence by Dr. Charles Andoh as the true account of the Bishop’s first visit to the Gold Coast in 1954, thus, he painstakingly refuses to recognise the significance of Mr. Doku’s systematic campaign against the continual promotion and sale of the book world-wide. He (the Dr.) argues in favour of the author, saying the Bishop has done so much for the good of Prampram; transforming the site where she now occupies from a normally unattractive (cemetery) landscape into a complex of prominent buildings presently used by Oasis of Love Church members in the community.

Now, speaking as a Ghanaian observer with no prior knowledge of Prampram town and its precise environment, but having had the opportunity to read the controversial book recently, I want to know why the publication of such a book was allowed in print with no criticism of the obvious inaccuracies, even though the 2nd. edition of the book states that the Bishop met with the Prampram paramount Chief and his Traditional Council to give them a copy of the book before asking for land to build her Bible College. The highly controversial “facts” in the book were not challenged by the Elders, thus giving the Bishop the green light to publish the second edition. Such controversy may even have contributed to the excessive demands of the book sales world-wide, to warrant subsequent re-prints in later years. Naturally, one would assume the religious leaders and the Elders of this community having read such a cantankerous book would have been the first to challenge the content of the book, campaign for its withdrawal and oppose the author from settling on their homeland where she now makes a good living. But no! So far not a single protest has been publicly lodged from the local MP, the community leaders or the Elders of state regarding the disgraceful story in the book which is a shame. No wonder Dr. Charles Andoh feels that the book is worth dying for!

Dr. Andoh who claims his grandfather hailed from Prampram maybe right inciting Mr. Doku as a lone campaigner because nobody else cares; but even so if he is, without the vociferous backing of the whole silent majority of Prampram residents to encourage his fight against the author, Dr. Charles Andoh should be reminded that it is morally wrong by anybody’s standard for the Bishop to solicit funds from the international community through the sale of literature, which contains false accounts made up to appease the gullible American funders of the Bishop’s churches – “the Oasis of Love” dens in Ghana and abroad.

Again, like any decent and right-minded Ghanaian I am determined to know from Dr. Andoh and the others who are ardently supporting the Bishop: - Are we the common citizens of Ghana supposed to lie flat on our backs, relax and wait whilst foreign racist elements claim the freedom of our lands and take control simply because somebody like the Bishop builds one prominent building in town to cover their past inaptitude social and moral offences against the state, say of Prampram?

The simple case of allowing Bishop Miller to settle in Prampram today is akin to the liberty afforded the early racist Dutch Afrikaaner settlers in South Africa by the indigenous Blacks, only later to be repaid by the introduction of the terrible apartheid regime with its unholy implications on the majority Black Africans that we all know so much about.

As it is now clear that Dr. Charles Andoh may not be the only defender of the Bishop – according to the on-going threats received by the lone campaigner Mr. Doku, mentioned in his previous feature articles there may be more. To these people, I say this is the right opportune time to persuade the 90+ year old author to offer the overdue apology to the people of Prampram before it is too late. I hope one day the people of Prampram will unite and forgive the old dear in order to allow her body to be buried on their sacred soil in Prampram as she so wishes in death.



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