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Opinions of Monday, 29 February 2016

Columnist: Kwame Yeboah, Ph.D

Otabil, please don’t use the name of God in vain

Oipnion Oipnion

I just read a news item on Ghanaweb (February 27, 2016) about Pastor Mensa Otabil’s demand for a change in the “poisonous” environment in Ghana. On the surface of it, this seemed a great message from a man of God until I analyzed recent pronouncements from this man. Pastor Otabil has taken advantage of the political season to take on the mantle of the campaigner-in-chief against the Mahama’s government.

His present “sermon” is not a sudden realization of the environment permeating in Ghana, but an opportunistic stance to take advantage of the concrete frustration of Ghanaians for political gains.

Pastor, the greatest disservice to a country and God is when cunning intellectuals like you use your talents acquired by the funding of ordinary people to lead them astray and take advantage of their hopelessness by preaching utopia, and taking advantage of their reverence to sway their votes for your preferred political party and system. How dare you use the name of God in such vain?

As a man of God with a vision of what God wants for Ghana, I had hoped you will know why the environment in Ghana is so poisoned. When did it start? Before independence or after independence and before Nkrumah or after Nkrumah or Before or after Kuffour and NPP rein?

You seem to be glorifying successful foreign nations where Ghanaians have migrated and made head way, but have you ever thought of how they have been so successful? We cannot be like these successful countries unless we learn from them. When did you start preaching about how England, Germany, Russia, the United States and now China became so successful as a learning exercise for Ghanaians?

For your information, the colonial masters (England, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain) divided the world amongst themselves and looted the resources of their captured countries for years. Ghana can learn by colonizing England, France, Germany etc. as a start, right? If that is not possible, maybe we can do with Burkina Faso and Togo. The most successful tool your successful nations used in the capture of the resources of the world was their religion, the gun powder as against swords of the world and an educational system based on learning only what they considered as the truth.

You and your men of God and your daily sermons are a true examples and manifestations of our situation. Whiles you loot their possession in daily and weekly collections, your congregation and their children are malnourished; whiles you ask them to build imposing mission houses for you and your pastors, they live in mud houses; they give you enough money to pay your children’s school fees whiles their children are dropouts selling dog chains; whiles they sponsor you on expensive foreign trips, their children die crossing the Sahara on foot and in ramshackle boats across the Mediterranean. You have built a great university in Ghana.

Find out how many students there are from poor homes that cannot afford your expensive school fees. Whiles you are at it, find out how many of them actually were able to get there without pre-K and international school, and how many are from Kwaboadi No. 1 and Tweapease primary schools? You want to know the reason for the “poison environment”, look in the mirror? Doctor “man of God”, tell us how you got the money to build your church and university outside the contributions of your church members?

Now note this! After the countries of the world fought for independence, we inherited a destroyed indigenous industries and an economy based on western capitalist system. The only thing we got for ourselves were new national flags and national anthems. Up till now, your successful countries determine the price of the goods they buy from us as well as goods they sell to us. You have had a number of opportunities to preach to these countries, can you make the contents of your sermons to them public? We just want to know the message of God you delivered to them. Have you realized that the reason why indigenous industries are folding up in Ghana is because of cheap goods flooding in from outside? And as a man of God, has God revealed to you why goods from outside are so cheap?

Let me tell you what God has shown me. Capitalism, the greatest cornerstone of your religious faith has become too expensive in the west. Unfortunately, the west can no longer use physical slavery and apartheid with free cheap labor any more so they have shipped all their industries to cheap developing nations in far east. The can pay a factory hand one to five dollars a week to make shoes as against wages of around ten dollars an hour in the United States.

Secondly, they have reduced Ghana and Africa to beggar nations by destroying our industries with cheap good and lowered the prices of our produce. We are in what Nkrumah called the “neocolonial” period. They give us the aid and the loans and unlike the opposition parliamentarians always say is the government’s fault, the donor countries tell us what we can or cannot do with the loans.

Third and most importantly, Ghana has not got the resources to take care of our population needs. No matter what you think and preach to your church and party followers, the nation has not got enough natural resources to take care of our needs. The west destroyed our cocoa industry by fostering competition from Malaysia and other far eastern countries. Our Gold and oil is owned by foreign companies and we receive less than 12.5% of revenue from them. The Volta dam is drying because of the southward march of the Sahara Desert and energy generation is now going to rely on machines that consume our little oil.

Now, all over the world, countries are coming together to form larger geographical entities with common goal of pulling their resources together for survival. The whole of Asia is made of Russia, China, India with Iran and Saudi Arabia supporting. Europe which has been so successful for centuries have come together to form a solid block called the European Union. North America is made up of Canada and the United States with Mexico supporting. The whole Australia continent is one country.

Now check Africa where you have been an appointed man of God for decades. We are made up of over 50 small enclaves called countries. We pay to have 50 standing armies and we send ambassadors to each other’s country and all other countries of the world. United States made up of 50 states send only one ambassador to Ghana. Whiles the world is uniting, we are dividing because our Europeans masters and our political leaders will not let us do so. The Busia/Danquah tradition that you are part is the staunchest opposition is Africa Unity as advocated by Kwame Nkrumah. They also did everything within their power to prevent Nkrumah from building a country independent of the influence of their leaders’ class mates in Europe.

So the “poison environment” is as a result of the harassment and overthrow of Nkrumah by the ancestors of your NPP. It is by the mental slavery of religious teachings that ask our people to remain poor so they can inherit the kingdom of God after they die. It is about a bunch of thieves and confident tricksters who are masquerading as men of God. It is about the mental slavery that makes us adore anything foreign and hate ourselves. It is about our professors and pastors being faded carbon copy Europeans and perpetual imitator.

The environment “poisoned by ordinariness, mediocrity and clear agenda to destroy talents” is from you, your fellow pastors and your churches that have condemned the people to such mental slavery that they are unable to think as creatures of a God who created us in his image.

The environment Essien prospered is not based on the prophesy of a Right Reverend, but on solid science-based planning. Ask yourself, will your name have been a household word if you had only preached in the local languages? And whiles we are at it, when are you going to do that? Is it because of the poisoned environment that is why you speak the queens’ English in your preaching of the word of God to the poor souls in Ghana? You have been a pastor and founder of your church for decades with millions of church members. So show us what percentage of them under your pastoral direction have their names been as household as Essien? Is your church also poisoned?

You talk about Ghana being blessed with talents in entertainment but only exhibited outside the country. Yes, that is true. But it is because of copying everything foreign. Foreign religion, foreign textbooks, foreign names and foreign dresses. Your talented artistes call the film industry “Ghallywood” after Hollywood of the America. That is the only name acceptable to them. The name after the great name in America.

Most of the universities in Ghana are stacked with professors who have not written a textbook before. We teach the white man’s story about us as our history when we have history teachers who have earned full professorship status.

Your church members still sing about David and Jerusalem and see their own indigenous traditions as pagan and savage. Most of them wear the white man’s suit every day in the hot Sunday afternoon and pray for visas at every opportunity.

Some of your fellow pastors wear robes that originated from Israel, Palestine and Rome. It has not occurred to them that those dresses are traditional dresses of those cultures. Has it occurred to you that may be if Jesus had been born in Berekum, he might have worn Kente? These pastors have listened to you and done what you say God wants them to do every day. Your church members pay their tithes and collections and they participate in communion. So what is the problem? Mahama’s government?

You baptize and give your converts foreign names as “Christian” names. Where is your “Christian” name? If you don’t think it is important or Christian enough, what have you done about it in your church and the people God has given you charge of? It is only in Ghana that people can masquerade as men of God without evidence and pay no taxes on church collections and tithes as well as no duties on anything imported in the name of the church. Your church has been established for years now, how much tax have you paid for all the earnings you have received from daily and weekly collections?

As a strong NPP fanatic, when did you know building of infrastructure such as roads and schools are not to be the priorities for Ghanaians to cherish about? Ex-President Kuffour, the man who invited you to help solve the divisions in your party, used over $50 million dollars to celebrate Ghana’s 50th anniversary celebration, when there were school under trees, business needed financing, Nkrumah circle needed interchange to solve it perennial traffic problems, Volta lake was drying and could lead to Dumsor, SSS graduates were selling dog chains, Korle lagoon needed dredging, only 5 universities were in Ghana and most importantly Ghanaian football talents were leaving our shores in droves to seek greener pastures and a name for themselves. As a man of God what did you tell him in private and preach in public?

The poisoned atmosphere is the tribalism practiced by a faction in the NPP that sees Asantes and Akyems as more important than anybody else to lead the party. The poisoned atmosphere is the old-boyism, whom you know attitude, and corruption. The poisoned atmosphere is the biases in admission that allows children of relatives, friends and those who can pay to get admission whiles qualified students are left to sell dog chains. The poisoned atmosphere is when a person can get a third class degree at Legon, get thrown out at Oxford, never attends a law school but is given a law license to practice in Ghana and wants to be president by every means possible.

All over the world, pharmacy schools are changing to the more advanced Doctor of Pharmacy program. Your university is one of the most modern in Ghana but still copying the archaic bachelor degree program that has poisoned the pharmacy profession for a long time? Is it part of the poisoned environment?

Pastor Otabil, you have done very well so far and I wish you will remain so by being a man of integrity. Some of us don’t need your help to win votes for our political parties. We need you and your fraternity to be men of God. In other words, men of high esteem who will not descent into gutter politics.

We need fair arbiters we can count on in our social discourse. If at any time you have an uncontrollable desire to get into party politics, feel free and leave your cassock and God behind and joined your party’s platform. Anything less than that will be a disservice to your life long achievements.

Your brother,
Kwame Yeboah