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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

CK Tedam, the martyrs of Uganda and more

C.K. Tedam C.K. Tedam

The Thanksgiving Mass for the late Clement K. Tedam, 94, was held successfully on Sunday at the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church, Mamprobi, Accra.

The usual church and state bromance was present – presidential delegation arriving late with a siren when the Gospel was being read; paid party hirelings chanting right into the entrance to disturb the solemnity of the occasion; soldiers and policemen moving about with guns; a poor address by a party general secretary who told us when introducing the delegation that “it is not in order of hierarchy” yet mentions POTROG in that list; and also asking that all NPP members in the congregation should stand up; open defecation in the RC Basic School female urinal; dirty open gutters which showed no respect for the importance of the presidential visit; and by no means an exhaustive list, an offertory procession which included a goat after which pellets had to be collected from the floor.

But let us ignore the distressing details for now.

We have firmed up our conclusions; time to recall what my mentor has been saying.

“All is lost. Do you expect anything important will happen……the depth of incompetence always catches me napping; it is amazing how EVERYTHING can be so poorly handled.

Sometimes you think that the people and country ghana exist in some land of make believe.”

This Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church in Mamprobi is the preferred place of worship for Catholic medical and allied health sciences students at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital because it is closest and the first Mass which starts at 7am MUST close at 9am for the second Mass to start.

On Sunday, CK Tedam’s Thanksgiving Mass which started at 9:30am with no politician in sight ended 12:40pm, more than an hour late.

The Holy Mass itself was orderly and solemn because the congregants comported themselves.

Still, the lack of civility by the presidential entourage was disgraceful.

CK Tedam – may his soul rest in peace – was part of all this for about 50 years.

He received several papal awards – mainly certificates from Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis on account of his contributions to the church through the Knights of Saint John International (KSJI).

The KSJI carry the papal flag and are part of the Holy Father’ security and intelligence in any country.

Hence their input or lack of it with respect to Sunday’s mess must be called out; their failure to honour CK Tedam at Sunday’s final funeral rites with appropriate decorum was sad.

CK. Tedam contributed to the construction of the rectory of the Catholic Church in Paga, his hometown in Upper East Region, and until his death was contributing to the new Martyrs of Uganda Catholic church building.

There is ongoing reconstruction at the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church, and sadly the over 40 plus years old mural of the Martyrs has been partly defaced by plastering work.

This mural covers a space of about eight meters by four meters on the sanctuary wall.

The painting depicts the town of Buganda, in the 1880s. Some of the martyrs are seen wrapped in mats and burning in fire with a halo over each saintly head; the perpetrators depicted with broad chests and some holding machetes.

How auspicious that for the Thanksgiving Mass the First Reading was from Genesis 18:20-32 – the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how Abraham negotiated with the Lord his God.

The Martyrs according to the facts refused homosexual advances from the Kabaka or ruler because they had become Christians and no longer wanted to take part in such acts.

“The noise from Sodom and Gomorrah has reached up to heaven,” the lay reader read from the passage. “Their sins so many…..what if there are five people less?……I will not destroy it.”

The homilist – Very Rev. Father Anthony Richard Oppong, suggested that like Abraham, mankind could negotiate with God; a God of “natural justice”.

My take is that since the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah “were many”, Abraham’s negotiation was about finding “righteous persons”, not non-homosexuals.

Evidence? Please read the passage – and discover your own truths.

Let us return to Buganda where the Kabaka wanted to do his usual thing but the martyrs who were courtiers refused this time around which angered him, leading to their execution and subsequent veneration by the Catholic Church.

We can say conclusively that homosexuality – was present in Buganda and was NOT introduced into Africa by Europeans. And there is solid evidence from other parts of Africa too.

Just the facts; only the facts. And the truth will set us free.

Rest in peace C.K. Tedam.

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