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Opinions of Friday, 10 March 2017

Columnist: Asubonteng, Bernard

If human cloning is legal and ethical, Ghana will need more of Otabils, Agyepongs…

By--Bernard Asubonteng


Cloning is significant scientific breakthrough which ought to be celebrated alongside other milestone human innovations. There are so many things cloning can be used for and cloning human must not be one of them.

Universally, it is almost a settled reality that human cloning is illegal and most importantly, unethical. So what we are conveying here is that if human cloning is the right thing to do (again, it is not!), a country like Ghana notorious for systemic public corruption and weak civil laws, will definitely need to make ‘exact copies’ of Ghanaians with right frame of mind like Pastor Mensah Otabils and Kennedy Agyepongs.

It is not surprising a lot of Ghanaians characterize and disdainfully dismiss almost every pronouncement from either Pastor Mensah Otabil or the MP for Assin North Kennedy Agyepong as controversial or outrageous.

Ironically, it makes sense in that in a society in which lies, state corruption, widespread superstitious beliefs, and a sizable number of people have difficulty thinking critically, citizens who talk sensibly like Pastor Otabil, Kennedy Agyepong, and others, will always be demonized.

Every Ghanaian has the right to form whatever opinion each wants to, but that inalienable right does not allow anyone to own the facts. The tenable truth is that Pastor Mensah Otabil and the MP for Assin North Kennedy Agyepong are some of the matchless progressive-thinking and straight-talking Ghanaians of our time. Imagine many of the so-called pastors/prophets in Ghana today not only fake preach, but also contemplate critically the way Pastor Otabil does as opposed to always engaging in fake prophesy just to mislead and take advantage of vulnerable followers? Similarly, what if Ghana’s parliament has many independent-thinking, as well as genuine truth-seeking MPs, such as Kennedy Agyepong, who speak forcefully with a sense of unwavering purpose and national interest and accountability? With this set of mindsets, wouldn’t Ghana definitely be on the winning path in its elusive quest for socioeconomic and political advancement?

Regrettably, many Ghanaians don’t want to hear the cold truth because a great deal of us speak from both sides of the mouth at the same time and more so can’t even think critically. Often, whenever someone present facts/truths, the default response is to insinuate or vilify the messenger rather than debate the merits of the message. Where people decide not to engage in vilifications, they recoil into their most favorite comfort zones—the “rich culture” argument or superstitious explanations. Usually they would invoke some of these tired-old lines: “It is part of our rich culture; “this is how we have been doing it” or “we may incur the wrath of the gods if we do it differently.” Hence the hesitation and resistance to change.

A sizable bunch of Ghanaians do not want innovative change except over-copying from some foreign lifestyles. In an incoherent and amorphous name of “rich Ghanaian culture” we stay true to consistent and uncritical ways of doing things, while paying lip service to creative societal transformation. As one of the famous American essayists Ralph Waldo Emerson once suggested, “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of the little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has nothing to do.” Undoubtedly, Ghana needs far-reaching sociocultural re-orientation if any impactful change were to occur.

That is why when out-of-the-box thinkers like Pastor Mensah Otabil exposes some of the cultural fallacies and social inertias in the 21st century Ghana, some people start expressing outrage in hyperbolic fashion without dispassionate reflections on the critique(s). Pastor Otabil’s worldviews regarding many Ghanaians’ attitudes toward culture and socioeconomic dynamics are accurate and no-brainer.

Indeed, the world is changing fast all around us, and it is confounding that many Ghanaians still look at the world through the prism of 18th century’s habits. We don’t need to be followers or members of the International Central Gospel Church, where Pastor Mensah Otabil serves as General Overseer, to believe that an unexamined stubbornness in many of our indigenous belief systems, and our impervious predilections to change are retarding the country’s progress.

For the records, I don’t know or have never met Pastor Mensah Otabil before. In the same vein, I have never come across Mr. Kennedy Agyepong the MP for Assin North, either. Nonetheless, there will be no hesitation on my part to single out Mensah Otabil and Kennedy Agyepong in the event of anyone seeking my honest inputs regarding some of the intelligent thinkers and straight-talkers in Ghana today. While Kennedy Agyepong has proven to be the most powerful and bold anti-corruption champion within Ghana’s parliament, Pastor Otabil on his part epitomizes commonsense, truth, bravery, and critical thinking—an essential skill sets needed for modern development but seriously in short supply in the country’s sociocultural morass.

Lest we forget, Pastor Otabil’s recent “parable of fufu” was right on point! Admittedly, as a typical Asante guy I know fufu is the leading staple food in our part of the world. But the honest truth is that, similar to most popular cuisines in the country, we can do far better in terms of the hygienic preparation of fufu, including the disposal of trash and many other human wastes in this modern times. The question is: What exactly is the basis for all these hypocritical outrages and the innuendos directed toward Mr. Mensah Otabil? He could not have said it better. Many Ghanaians have problem reconciling with realities/facts. It is why the country desperately needs many more people like Pastor Otabil, Kennedy Agyepong, Anas, and few others who envisage Ghana on a higher level than its current mediocre status.

Bernard Asubonteng is United States-based social critic. He can be reached: b.asubonteng@gmail.com