By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Folks, I have had several occasions to take on Re. Mensa Otabil and charlatans of his ilk who are abusing the pulpit to do dirty politics. I haven’t regretted for putting such politically motivated “Men-of-God” where they belong in public discourse regarding the challenges of development facing our country. They are self-seeking noise makers to disregard.
Here is Mensa Otabil again, spewing pure garbage to annoy me. Let’s hear him: “Ghanaians should not be content with the provision of basic goods and services such as roads, water and electricity by the state…. We can’t just be happy because a road has been tarred. We can’t just be happy that we didn’t have electricity, now we have electricity. We can’t be happy with minimals”.
Then again, he says “So, I hope that as we celebrate this story, and I like how it was put earlier that it’s a revolution and it’s really a revolution, we have to battle, we have to fight, we have to wrest the destiny of our nation from incompetence and from people, who have determined to run us to the ground. We have to wrest the nation back and control it as citizens of this country and that is the challenge I want to put to you.” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Don-t-be-happy-with-tarred-roads-electricity-416577)
Nonsense. Pure nonsense!! Has Mensa Otabil ever visited any of the deprived communities now enjoying the amenities being provided by the government to assess the people's feelings? If he hasn't, he should do so immediately to be properly informed. If he has, he won't go this way.
Does Mensa Otabil know the value of such projects to a people who have over the years been denied such projects and their attendant benefits? Does he ever use any of the development projects provided by the government? If he does, he will be the most ungrateful person on earth to not appreciate the government for providing such amenities.
In effect, Mensa Otabil has launched a senseless attack on the government for serving the needs of the people, using public funds to provide direly needed amenities to improve living conditions. It is a huge insult to the users of such amenities too.
Is Mensa Otabil ever informed about the cries of Ghanaians to the government to provide such amenities so they could also move with the times? And is he aware of numerous petitions written to the government on that score and the threats by neglected communities not to participate in the electoral/political process unless their bad roads are tarred, school buildings rehabilitated or new ones built for them, electricity provided for them, and good drinking water given them?
Is Mensa Otabil ever sensitive to the plight of the deprived communities in Ghana that are gradually being served with these amenities? Does he know how happy people in such communities become when the government heeds their plea to provide the essential amenities for them to enjoy? If he does he won’t talk so loosely and unconscionably.
Is he happy that the university that he has established is serving the needs of the people but shouldn’t be acknowledged as such? Or that the beneficiaries should ask him to shut down the university because it is not the be-it-all-and-end-it-all for them in life? How low couldn’t he have stooped in his madness to denigrate the government for purposes of sustaining the rogue politics of those he is in bed with?
Such a “Man-of-God” is no “Man-of-God”, after all. If he were, he should be the first to acknowledge the fact that the development projects are initiated by the government after a careful assessment of the needs of the people and how to ensure that they are given their part of the national cake to enjoy.
What he doesn’t know is that he is playing into the hands of those vile politicians whose new-fangled buzz-word of “incompetence” defines their own lack of vision. They are bandying that vacuous word about as if it is enough to tell Ghanaians what they have up their sleeves to outdo President Mahama and his team. Standing outside and looking into happenings in government isn’t the same as really being in government and seeing from within what is happening.
Whatever Ghanaians need to live their lives in decency will be provided by the political authority that they have put in power to manage public funds (After all, they pay taxes and should have their interests catered for. If it is development projects that will serve their needs, they must be provided; and there is nothing wrong with doing so). Providing such projects doesn’t preclude any higher level thinking by the people, especially if they know how to do things to keep the government on its toes.
Folks, I see nothing wrong with the provision of development projects all over the country. Tarring roads is a major initiative to be lauded. Opening up the communication network as such expedites mobility and promotes economic activities that eventually reinforce efforts at national development. Why can’t Mensa Otabil and those thinking like him take off their blinkers for once to see things beyond their noses? (And Mensa Otabil has a big nose at that!!).
Those of us living outside Ghana can tell the difference between the wretched state in which our people live because of lack of social amenities of the sort that the Mahama-led administration and its predecessors have given the needy people.
Hospitals and other health centres are being built to cater for their health needs; schools are set up to provide opportunities for children to be formally educated; roads are tarred to ensure mobility; airports are built and rehabilitated to allow for easy movement to and from the country; markets are constructed and furnished to improve the health situation; many other facilities are provided to ease the burden on the people—and all these projects shouldn't be appreciated? And the people shouldn't be happy that the government is using their tax money (including whatever donors give Ghana) to serve their needs?
Why does Mensa Otabil think that Akufo-Addo is still forcing to grab the attention of a segment of the deprived population living in the "Zongos" with his talk of establishing a "Zongo Development Fund" or to build hostels for Kakyayei? Or to make senior high school education free in Ghana? And he expects the people not to be happy that their needs are being served?
Indeed, Mensa Otabil’s kind of dirty politics under the aegis of religion is appalling. Ever since he chose to see nothing good about an NDC government in power, he has carved a negative path to chart in public discourse and is known as such. When Kufuor entered office, he was instrumental in the activities of the so-called “Men-of-God”, led by the Methodist Samuel Asante-Antwi to denigrate Rawlings and his administration. They saw nothing wrong about the development project-focused efforts of the Kufuor government; and for Election 2008, nothing fed the NPP’s electioneering campaign messages more than the development projects and social interventionist programmes (NHIS, Metro-Transport, Schools Feeding Programme, etc.) that Kufuor had carried out. They wished Akufo-Addo had won, but for reasons best known to them, the voters rejected him as they did again at Election 2012.
Since then, the Mensa Otabils have lost their bearings and momentum and are firing on all cylinders but missing the target. Their kind of dirty politics has refused to wash with the people because the people know better!! And now that they have chosen the wrong topic for their vituperation, they are only fertilizing the ground for another defeat for Akufo-Addo thereby.
Interestingly, Asante-Antwi has planted himself deeply in the NPP fold where he is presiding over the Sanhedrin tearing the party apart. Cowards like Mensa Otabil are afraid to declare their political stance but easily betray such a penchant through their public posturing and rogue politics under the guise of religion. God sees them through in all that they do and say; and we will also dent holes in their calling as such. True “Men-of-God” work for peace, unity, and progress, not what emanates from the vaul;t of the Mensa Otabils. Shame unto them!!
If Mensa Otabil thinks he has the solution to Ghana’s problems, why can’t he throw away his cassock (if he ever has one) and join the struggle? In other countries, “Men-of-God” have vigorously participated in the political process, seeking the people’s mandate to rule. Examples exist all over the world. I challenge Mensa Otabil to do same and stop hiding behind the smokescreen that he has created as a so-called “inspirational speaker” to do dirty politics. If he thinks he has the solution to Ghana’s problems, let him step forward to contest the general elections and stop annoying us with his kind of vain effusions. A true “Man-of-God” sees things from a wider angle and comments on them to build, not to destroy.
If such a "Man-of-God" believes his own Biblical eye-opening maxim that it is God who appoints Kings, I don't think they will toe the kind of crooked path that they have chosen all these years that the Ghanaian electorate have rejected their sacred cow in his bid to rule them.
Characters like him continue to embolden me to ask that the authorities should be bold enough to change the country’s tax regime for pastors/leaders of churches to pay tax as responsible citizens should. If I had the power to change that system, I won’t hesitate at all to rope in this Mensa Otabil and all the charlatans abusing the loopholes in our system to turn themselves into potentates—of the kind that God himself won’t tolerate!!
For now, I will dismiss him as an irritant. Those for him the development projects (good roads, telecommunication, potable water, electricity, etc.) are provided know the value of such amenities and will continue to praise the government for serving their needs. Ingrates of Mensa Otabil’s kind can go to blazes!!
I shall return…
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