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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Columnist: Fynnba Derby

In pursuit of justice for a murdered but never to be forgotten pregnant woman

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As I write this, we are aware that a pregnant woman who attended church one day was allegedly drugged, driven to a location in the Eastern Region, hung on a tree, her baby cut out of her womb and pounded in a mortar with two cats, and blood collected from the cut womb, all for rituals performed to fortify one Ben Yorke’s church.

How do we know these? Honourable Kennedy Agyepong and Kwaku Annan, the host of Net2 TV’s The Seat programme, have publicly been on a roll with an unwavering determination to expose fake pastors in Ghana.

Their mission, partially originating in petty accusations and counter-accusations about a cure for the novel coronavirus as well as subsequent responses from Obinim, his wife, and at least one female supporter, have compelled some of us to ponder the states of our legislature, judiciary, and law enforcement. Are we mute over these expositions of serious crimes because we consider them ends in themselves; or are loud, mega television and radio rants all we need in such despicably atrocious allegations of dehumanizing acts, torture, and homicides?

Where is the rationality in ignoring these revelations when in fact such fake pastors “successfully” predicted the death of a talented artiste whose demise shocked the nation, culminating in burial and funeral rites comparable to those befitting high-ranking state officials?

In this article, I postulate that the resultant revelations of murders, rape, and physical abuses to both human and animals should have concluded in arrests not only for money laundering and tax evasion but also for all the other felonious conducts. Why have confessions relating to these vicious events not been investigated? How can anybody mentioned in Manasseh Kwabena Boateng’s confessions, including he himself, not be under investigation for murders – for the wicked and brutal killings of the mother and her unborn child?

Why have confessions of the use of date rape drugs been left uninvestigated? As a democratic sovereignty with operational judiciary system independent of the legislature and of course the executive branch, why do we seem unperturbed by the use of human skulls supposedly in Obinim’s rituals? Or as a nation, do we rank crimes of money laundering and tax evasion higher above human lives? Elsewhere, animal cruelty would have been included in the charges.

On May 27, 2020, Kweku Annan started his show with a disclosure of appeals made to him to collaborate with his boss to have all one man owned churches closed down. In response, he emphatically suggested their role was to make the revelations of the dark operations of those churches and that he rather expected his viewers – and called upon them – to brood over the revelations, ponder them extensively, and decide on the action to take.

He concluded that response with the acknowledgement that their intention was simply an awareness creation. This article is my acknowledgement of that challenge - I call for further investigation of the murders, rape, and other felonies allegedly committed by Obinim and his followers, Ben Yorke and his followers, and Demon Breaker and his followers. Is any organization interested in justice for the underprivileged reading this?

I have several reasons for taking the challenge by Kwaku Annan so seriously. Both the honourable legislator and his host consistently drew attention to the extent to which the selfish exploitation of religion unfailingly impeded progress in Ghana. They questioned the rationality in Ghanaian women’s entrenched and resolute dependence on religiosity, ignoring the reality that their observations inarguably attested to the impactful outcomes of our cultural practices of which they and such women are products – we cannot blame them!!

So far, two witnesses (Manasseh Kwabena Boateng and Michael Adu - aka Demon Breaker) who actively participated in the alleged murders and rapes, have confessed to some of the acts. On one of the shows, the honourable legislator disclosed that a female MP confessed to him that she had been a member of York’s church for over three years and thus could confirm all the claims Manasseh and Breaker had made. This article asks one overarching question and a few others: why have these not been investigated to establish probable cause and subsequent prosecution?

How can legislators be knowledgeable of these atrocities but fail to engage the services of law enforcement and the criminal justice system in pursuit of justice for the murdered victims while potentially curbing the abuses of vulnerable women and children? What else can our legislators do – besides broadcast revelations – to protect women and children whose vulnerabilities are undeniable by-products of the very structures, including the political, that thwart their progression in social mobility?

Throughout the revelations, numerous unacceptable conducts were disclosed. For the purpose of this write-up, I categorize the accusations into four conducts: (a) amoral conducts by pastors; (b) fraudulent economic exploitation of the religiosity of Ghanaians by self-acclaimed pastors, “angels,” and “bishops;” (c) civil cases between the fake pastors and some church members, patrons, or other citizens; and (d) felonious criminal conducts, including homicides, by these pastors. With the exception of category A, each of these conducts violates some components of the criminal codes of this land, and they constitute the primary purpose of this article.

Why was Obinim’s arrest and subsequent report to EOCO based solely on purported events of money laundering and tax evasions, both cases of criminal investigations conspicuously disconnected from the more serious offenses of rape and murder?

Obinim was caught on camera, describing how his followers or mentees could become wealthy by providing newborn babies, human fingers, placenta, and human skulls. The content of such a video may not be sufficient grounds for convictions in murder cases. Nevertheless, disclosures by both Breaker and Manasseh of the terrible physical assaults provided firsthand accounts of the horrible machinations and rituals by Obinim and other false prophets. Prior to Manasseh’s revelations, Breaker disclosed similar occurrences that corroborated revelations by the former. He described how Obinim prepared a dish of human placenta and skull and other herbs for a Ghanaian pastor based in another West African country.

Both repentant confessors spoke about the criminal act of rape, which dehumanizes women more than anything else does. On his part, Demon Breaker testified to the gross and obnoxious conduct of raping his own sister per the request of Obinim. He told viewers that he took that biological sister out for drinks and brought her back home to rape her around 11:45 p.m., which was the exact time Obinim instructed him to carry out the abhorrent assault. His sister was an adult then, and she is legally capable as well as has the right to press charges; obviously, that would not occur, and it is understandable. On the May 27 episode of The Seat broadcast, Manasseh confessed to the use of a date rape drug by various pastors to sexually assault women.

On this show, he mentioned how Bishop Nana Kyere used an aphrodisiac rape drug, Spanish Flowers, to sexually violate a young woman who, till this date, suffers medically from the assault. Who is that victim perpetually scarred from that rape? Did any of the many human rights or women’s advocacy groups attempt to track her down, to facilitate her access to the rights and badly needed resources or assistance that she has been denied all these years? Manasseh’s confirmation that only medical doctors could have access to Spanish Flowers is further suggestive of the complicity of medical doctors in these crimes. Who were those doctors?

A viewer sent a very interesting text message to the host while the program was live. This person wanted to know if Manasseh had ever used Spanish Flower. When Kwaku Annan read that message, Manasseh laughed, giggled, touched his sheet of paper on the table, and interrogated the relevance of the viewer’s question, surprised that the viewer would doubt his involvement in the use of the drugs. He queried: “what does this person mean? How can a hunter kill a game and not have a taste of it?” To wit, since he played a role in the use of Spanish Flowers since he was a part of the criminal team that he has comfortably turned against, he definitely used it too. This, in my humble opinion – and as I take Kwaku Annan’s advice to utilize their revelations as I find fit – was Manasseh’s confession of having raped women, using that aphrodisiac drug. Has he been questioned?

Following his earlier confessions to murderous attacks of women, viewers called for Manasseh Kwabena Boateng’s apprehension. He returned to the show disappointed; he felt sad, complaining of betrayal by the viewers whom he pointed out, needed to appreciate the role he was playing in the exposures of the fake pastors. He went on to caution that should he be handcuffed for these confessions, there was the possibility of men and women like him keeping their testimonies to themselves and denying the general public the privilege of assessing the manipulations of the fake pastors. I personally appreciate Manasseh for his role in these revelations. But I also acknowledge the significance of prosecuting criminal conducts in the pursuit of justice for victimized persons while simultaneously solidifying the criminal justice system of our country. You will be a vital prosecution witness, but you will need a lawyer.

I want to believe that our criminal justice institutions are functional, and thus I recommend that you get yourself a lawyer. I am sure that if you subject yourself to the operations of the justice system, you will come out a better person. The souls of the innocent lives taken may never rest until justice is served. You have started the journey of freeing yourself, but that commendable project will be inconclusive until the families whose loved ones were murdered are accorded the right to put closure to the loss of their loved ones who left for church, or maybe for town on errands one day, and never returned.

Manasseh, the families will be eternally appreciative of your sacrifice should you offer your support in the investigations into the background of that pregnant woman who was brutally murdered, based on your own confessions. You can assist the police to create profiles for all the other victims, women, men, and children, so their families can stop looking for them. You opened a can of worms when you collaborated with the honourable legislator to out fake pastor Obinim, but any serious nation will not just sit and applaud you. Inarguably, the role that you have played in these journalistic investigations will be fruitless if the culprits are not brought to book. Cooperate with the legal system to complete the journey, for the sake of all the victims, including those who are still alive.

Ever since I listened to the YouTube recording of Manasseh’s appearance on Kwaku Annan’s programme, I have looked forward to a discussion of any attempts to have the alleged homicides and other criminal conducts, besides money laundering, prosecuted. Honourable Kennedy Agyapong had persistently assured us, his viewers, of the ultimate arrest and subsequent prosecution of Obinim. But typically, I have been taken aback by the insistence of the legal acts against the disgraced man of God only to the extent of the money laundering and tax evasions. What about the killings?

What about the abuses of children? Those who have been following the show are knowledgeable of the horrible atrocities meted out to women and children. We may not care so much about their purchase of holy water, fans, and money perfume, for example, but where do we start the pursuit of justice for the pregnant woman who was drugged and murdered? Who was that woman? She was probably a mother to other kids. Obviously, she was a wife, a girlfriend, or a fiancé. She was somebody’s daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, employee, client, or a co-worker, desperately seeking opportunities to better or protect herself. Ghanaian traditions demand closure of a person’s life through elaborate funerals. Does she not deserve that final closure?

Considering the machinations by pastors and fetish priests to make prophesies come to pass to enhance crowd-pulling rituals, is it possible other major prophesies were fabricated and subsequently acted out to pull crowd? When Ebony died, one of the prophecies claimed she was going to be killed by the same spirits that she had consulted. Is it possible some of these pastors went to the same ritualists, who then collaborated with them to kill the artist so as to enhance their own crowds? The powers that be might want to include this in their investigations and Ebony’s family should be interested in this.