Kwabena Brako-Powers (Author, Blogger, Thinker, Life-Enthusiast, Traveler)
For the past week, I kept on asking myself: how come we (Africans) are so fortunate to receive miracles? Or is it that we are quick to attribute the little victories in our lives to supernatural interventions? When he gets a job, he calls it a miracle; when he receives his visa from the embassy, he calls it a miracle; when he buys his coveted car, this is called miracle; when he gets admission to a top school, he calls it a miracle; when a man takes her to the altar, she calls it a miracle, and when he survives a curable disease that is killing millions in our part of the world, he calls this miracle.
Nothing is normal here. No one African is deserving of the basic ‘luxuries’ – jobs, good healthcare system, security, safe running water – some citizens elsewhere in the West are entitled to without spiritualizing them.
This drive to explain everything within the prism of spirituality, is reflective in the approach Africans take to handle matters of national interest. When President Yahya Jammeh – President of Gambia, first announced to the world in 2007 that he had found natural remedy to cure AIDS, there was mixed reaction from his people and the international community. This is a man who has sought spiritual meanings for his own failures. The United Nations and World Health Organization found Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS treatment to be dangerous because his patients are required to cease taking the anti-retroviral drugs exposing them to other risks. Perhaps, unscientific or hyper-scientific. Jammeh is said to tell his patients that they must refrain from drinking alcohol, tea and coffee. They are also to stop taking kola nuts, and desist from having sex. After which he would say: ‘In the name of Allah, in 3 to 30 days you will all be cured.’
In a response to the reaction of the international community on Sunday 7 October, 2012 when he announced that 68 patients had been cured and ready for discharge from his treatment center, he said, “Who am I to expect that everybody would praise me.” However, this is a president accused of human rights abuses during his rule, especially, when he ordered the execution of nine death row inmates by firing squad.
When the former President John Evans Atta-Mills initiated prayer meetings in the Osu Castle – then the seat of government, many well-meaning Ghanaians felt our president was losing it. Many found issues with the president including his own party members. He was ascribing his leadership ineptitudes, and inefficiencies to spirituality – very typical of African leaders.
And so, when Archbishop Duncan Williams – founder of Action Chapel International (ACI), broke protocols in heaven to pray for God to stop the Ghana Cedi from ‘falling’, many of us were astounded. Perhaps, not because he did what has not been done before, but that he did what is usual of Africans – what’s expected of us when we feel incompetent in handling matters so basic at times.
In Ghana, like many parts of the continent, when our politicians deny us those fundamental things essential to our survival in the country of our birth, our people would tell us to: ‘leave it to God’.
So on Thursday, 4 February, 2016 when news trickled in that major roads in the capital have been blocked by the Police ahead of Friday’s ‘Night of Bliss’ encounter with Pastor Christopher Oyakhilome Ph.D. – the recognizable brand ambassador and founder of the Beloved World Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy, I wondered how many of the attendees, already numbering in thousands, have real problems that warrant God’s supernatural intervention. Are their problems so esoteric that they would not set God thinking if he’d created Africans equal to his compatriots in the other continents?
Would God be excited to receive the countless problems which could be solved by thinking right – something we lack in the continent? Or would Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Ph.D. be able to carry all the burdens of Ghanaians – something they would gladly do, and other Africans attending the program? In all the footages I saw of participants that night, one thing remained certain: that all the people were ready to ‘leave everything to God’ as usual. The tears dancing on the cheeks of repentant Ghanaians, hands spread in the air, and bodies willingly lying down on the floor before the man of God, demonstrate how hopeless many of their problems are.
However, my question is: how many of these problems are the people leaving for President Mahama to solve? What is the need in electing a right-thinking leader when in the end we will run to God for every solution?
Now let me herein remark that while I concur that spiritual intervention be sought for some of our problems, I vehemently disagree when we want to proffer the same solution to other problems that require human solutions. Why were we given brains if not to help navigate us through many of life’s intriguing puzzles? And so I am convinced that not all the attendees would receive God’s intervention for their conditions. I could almost see their own shame of disappointment as they made way for their various homes.
The truth is that they will need to go to President Mahama for the rest of the solutions. He has to answer for the rise in graduate and non-graduate unemployment in the country; the abnormal persistent increment in utility tariffs; lack of the will to stamp out corruption from his government; and the absence of his readiness to accept his own failings. He has to account.
If ever there’s anyone thing I would ask of God, it would that he should open the eyes of President Mahama to see some of the prayers offered at the Black star Square on that night when the son of Nigeria opened himself up to receive the innumerous challenges of Ghanaians – problems which could have been solved by political correctness. Surely, there are somethings that must left for the politician. They must be left for the African president.