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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Columnist: Sydney Casely-Hayford

Is Ghana truly corrupt?

Casely Hayford, member of OccupyGhana Casely Hayford, member of OccupyGhana

My whole week started and ended with religion. A subject I rarely discuss because Ghanaians find it very difficult to accept that not all things are asked of God. You have the free will to make decisions, why not use that free will and then go and say thank you afterwards. But as soon as we have a task to perform and cannot think because we have never encountered it before, we creep into the church and wait for a miracle.

So my good friend and fellow member of OccupyGhana Ace Ankomah was invited by the Rotary Club of Ghana to give his reasons “Why is Ghana Corrupt?” He started with the following précis:

“There is corruption everywhere in the world. But it is systemic in Ghana because we don’t punish unlawful greed.

1. There is corruption in Brazil. But former President Lula just got sentenced to a 10-year term for corruption.

2. There is corruption in South Korea. But it took a lady called Cha So-Soon, 950 attempts to get her driving licence.

3. There is corruption in Israel. But former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for corruption.

4. There is corruption in Ghana and the last people to go to jail for it were………”

and ended after raging, (as he calls it, ranting) over 40 points, with much more than you can ever imagine, from tradition to government through personal corrupt deeds, and ended like this,

“Are we cowards? Nobody wants to stand up to be counted. We tamp down on those who want to speak up. “We like matter but fear matter.”

From there our discussions continued on our social media platform and quickly degenerated to his point 14.

“Unwarranted and unsupported religiosity that obscures reason and hard work. Note how Churches that preach holiness are less populated than churches that preach prosperity”.

And on we went until Mensah Otabil’s Church, ICGC invited Ashimolowo from Nigeria and he ended up placing a tag on reward for sponsored prayers. Finally we ended up here from Exclamation Ebe-Arthur


“My father once shocked the congregation at Tema St. Paul’s Methodist when he unveiled the Harvest Target, IT WAS TWICE THEIR LAST HARVEST TARGET!!! He did the same at Takoradi, Sekondi and Calvary Methodist, Adabraka. In all those instances the congregations initially thought the targets were ambitious.

They achieved the targets and always exceeded it, but it wasn’t because they believed that was how they will enter heaven.

It was because there was always a clearly defined community development project or church improvement project that they agreed needed to be funded and most importantly there was accountability that they trusted will show how every single penny of the money raised would be used.

There is nothing wrong with giving to the church….so far as you know exactly what the church will use the money for and agree with it.

But you can’t give money to God….let’s not confuse the two. No one has ever seen an angel coming to cash a cheque at a bank, or an angel at a cashpoint, or an angel at a bureau -de-change changing dollars into cedis!

Faith means believing that when you support God’s work, he will bless you. It doesn’t mean that you can buy God’s Favour? It doesn’t mean that the money is relevant to the size of blessing either…..anyone remember the Widows Mite?

The doctrine of faith evaluated against an exceedingly inexplicably huge financial donation to a church because that is what will unlock a specific type of blessing from God is very unfortunate.

God’s Love, Forgiveness, Grace, Mercy and Favour cannot be bought and they are not awarded by merit (remember the Prodigal Son?)…..they are freely given. It is very true that several pastors have the spiritual gift to impart a blessing but herein lies the beauty of Christ’s concern for his flock….for in Matthew 10:8 Christ charges his apostles saying:

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

You see, Jesus knew how easy it was for people to get tempted to sell these blessings. Jesus also knew how easy it was for desperate people to give all their money for these gifts that is why he ordered these “gifts” should be FREE.

Have no doubt, blessings do exist and can indeed be bestowed by faith or unfortunately sold by men of God. That I can testify to as also seen in Acts 18:18-19

“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.””……(hold this quotation in your mind, I dey come)

There is nothing wrong with asking people to give to the work of God, or to support their pastors….the Apostle Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 9…..go and read that and if you don’t like “dashing” your osofo money shame on you wai.

But he also states clearly the need for a man of God to use this right to sustenance carefully so as not to be a burden. Note that the Apostle Paul talks about a “Right to Sustenance” not a “Right to Enrichment”.

Blessings or spiritual gifts under the new covenant are not linked to financial offerings, because Christ already paid the price for us with his blood. If you read your Bible carefully you will realise this to be true. You will also realise that your Prosperity Preaching Pastor is very uncomfortable discussing this without indirectly threatening you with eternal damnation if you don’t “invest in your blessing” or “sow a seed”.

Give a $1 million to your pastor if you believe it will progress the work of God on earth and cater for the needs of the preacher, but trust me it will not progress much your standing in heaven, if that is the real reason for which you are giving the money. For in Acts 18:20, Peter the first ever Bishop, Archbishop and Pope admonishes those who believes such:

“Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.” (Remember the verse that I said hold on to? Now that is the rest of that quotation)

I am not ignorant of the power of Faith to unlock blessings in my life, just ignorant of the power of money as proof of the existence of my Faith so that I can get to the blessing that God has freely given”.

What happened at the ICGC I find very unfortunate. To ask for $5,000 in return for prayers to become a millionaire is the highest form of deception. I will not be lying when I say most Ghanaians hold Pastor Mensah Otabil in such high regard, we would like to see his church continue to flourish and grow in perpetual congregation. He has become an icon of the Christian faith where even those of us not Christians would rather listen to him on a Sunday than some other bombastic groups promising heaven for the poor, while benefitting from their meagre tithes.

And it is when we corrupt the Church that we suddenly give politicians and various heads of our Institutions the power to lip-gloss their way out of jail.

Ghana. Aha a y? d? papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come.