Opana in Pastor Mensa Otabil’s guest house

J Ames James Kofi Annan

Thu, 4 Aug 2016 Source: James Kofi Annan

Simpa Panyin, I bring you warm greetings from Winneba. Winneba is calm, except that we are not catching a lot of fish these days. The pastors here have prayed all the prayers, still no fish.

The other day, someone told me that you said you can’t stand pastors who have sex with their church members, is that true? My daughter is a member of your branch at the University of Ghana, so I was happy when I heard that announcement.

But pastor, when you said you can’t stand pastors who have sex with their church members, are you talking about you standing there while it happens, or you are talking about what? Most of these pastors they go to the hotels oo? Would you still see them?

Pastor I will like to stop going to church, and I need prayers to change my mind. I sell Bubra, Akpeteshie, and tot tot. People get drunk, now they call it tipsy, all the time. I take delight in seeing people have an assembly of green bottles on their tables, especially on weekends when life band is being played. I like them to dance, shake off the installed capacity, so that they can refill.

I hear myself being condemned all the time. I am told that church members who visit my restaurant are candidates for hell due to how chilled the green bottles are.

But do you think it is about time we look again at our approach towards practicing Christianity? I mean do you think we have not misunderstood both the logos and the Rhyma of the Bible? And don’t you think, without risking being accused of blaspheming, we are misapplying the Bible to the extent that the church in Ghana is becoming counterproductive?

Or do you think a mere visit of a person to a restaurant makes the person a sinner? So will all Americans go to hell? I’m asking this because almost every American would have patronized one restaurant or the other at least once a month.

I recall that in the early 1990s the emphasis of Christianity was that the world was coming to an end. Do you remember the famous rolling stone that was supposed to have crashed all of us on the eve of 31st December 1999? This created a lot of panic, and helped to shape the moral fabric of Christians. Those teenagers who were jumping school walls stopped doing so, and started attending church meetings. Church was more of brothers and sisters than friends on friends.

As soon as we passed the year 2000, everybody jumped onto the streets, come and see immoral dance, church members somersaulting on themselves, pastors pouring private blessings on the women in their churches, with a number of them manhandling church offerings, suspected criminals ordaining themselves as prophets, and planting offering bowls on the streets.

The fear of Y2K was gone, therefore the fear of God was gone. Now it is the fear of men, men of God in double-breasted suits, some empty men of God who spoke miraculously, and those who have the power of transfiguration, one to snake, the other to goats.

So now here we are in miracle age, with women getting pregnant on the spot during miracle sessions, and traveling visas being stamped spiritually in the passports of miracle seekers, married women being bathed and toweled by pastors, the growth of the church industry resulting in innovative miracles, some kung fu miracles that surpasses those of Christ.

This year I did a bit of following of your Greater Works Conference. I admire the quality your church, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), brought to bear. You expressed the entrepreneurial side of the church, utilizing the opportunity of your large following to strategically plant advertisement to sponsor your own adverts.

Anyway, did you achieve any miracles? One of the things I remember Jesus did was resurrecting the dead, and causing Peter’s prison gates to be opened, and making sure that the chains of all the prisoners fell off, and thereupon Peter was set free (Acts 16:26).

Currently not many people will agree with you if you want to bring that miracle to Ghana. An eye for an eye has happened, and three of Opana’s boys are inside. His own ministers are signing petitions to mount pressure on him to free them, but he is cleverly pretending he has not heard them.

I hear the international community is also keeping their ears open, just in case he will succumb to pressure or uphold the sanctity of Georgina’s bench.

I also hear there are a few other radio stations waiting to know whether there will be a presidential pardon or not, thereupon they will also open fire on all judges at once. This time round I hear they will not only threaten to kill the judges, but they will fire them, they will ginger them, I mean like grandma’s style of gingering.

I also learnt that after all of these are done, when the pardon has happened, and everyone else has jumped into the fray to kill all the cats, there shall be no Supreme Court, and there shall be no High Court. There shall be only rule of men, and thereafter we will slain each other; you slash my throat, I slash your throat back, free for all, one by one we will kill each other.

Somewhere in February this year, I chanced on an article on Ghanaweb written by one Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor (I hope he is not the same Bokor I knew from Legon Hall). The title was “Mensa Otabil is talking rubbish again”. I took my time to paraphrase the key words and phrases used to describe Pastor Mensa Otabil as follows:

“That Pastor Mensa Otabil is a Charlatan, self-seeking, noise maker, and that he spews pure garbage and nonsense. That he speaks senseless and loosely and unconscionably. That Pastor Otabil stoops so low in his madness. That Pastor Otabil is a rogue, and he has a big nose.

He says Pastor Otabil is a coward, and a fake pastor who speaks vainly. He says Mensa Otabil is a crooked character, and that he is dismissing him (Dr. Otabil) as an irritant, and ingrate…”

You see, this is exactly the problem I have with you Simpa Panyin. All these descriptions in just one article on just one person, how? These vituperations started long ago, and I asked you not to sit there unconcern.

I asked you to do something, close some foul mouths, clutch some sharp teeth, I mean padlock them. I told you that Zimbabwe is different from Ghana, so chain Mugabe’s mouth, don’t allow him to open fire.

Specifically I remember telling you about Dr Mensa Otabil’s situation, that this naked insults on this man is undeserving, but everyone was laughing at me, as if it was fun.

Mensa Otabil, a man who has founded many sustainable institutions, and businesses, somebody who has employed thousands of people to help the economy, a man whose leadership has produced several hundreds of other leaders in this country, by far the greatest inspirational leader of our time.

You ignored me, and kept on dancing in trance. You stepped on all toes, and with authority and power, no one could stop you. You spewed abuse on Pastor Mensa Otabil. He did not utter a word, and like Christ, you took him to the cleaners, then to the cross, and nailed him. After the cross what next? You met your match. Now you are petitioning, that what?

In all of these Opanana, not wanting to be associated with Montie, briefly sneaked out of the country. He did not want to open his mouth, whether for or against pardon, although I would have loved to hear the opposition leader’s position on such a high profile situation, just to know what he would have done if he was in the president’s shoes.

You people behave anyhow in my presence. I draw your attention to the inherent dangers, but you don’t listen. When you land yourselves in trouble then you say I’m Simpa Panyin, I did not advise you. Have I not been advising you?

Opanana I hope you are learning lessons already. I have already told you that there is too much verbal diarrhea coming from Assin Central, I mean Assin Fosu, please stop it. Don’t wait until you win power oo, force that mouth to close oo. The other day I heard him say sex for roles. Previously he almost landed himself in genocide. Please he is getting closer oo… Omanfo Montie oo…

Columnist: James Kofi Annan