By Margaret Jackson
July 21, 2013
The Founder and General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church who also doubles as the owner of the Central University College (CUC), Pastor Mensa Otabil’s conceived hatred and disdain towards the NDC is very well known in Ghana and beyond. Many people have still not been able to shake themselves off the evil words spewed by the man of God on supporters of the NDC when his own denunciation of free Senior High School (SHS) was forcefully exposed in the run-up to the 2012 Elections.
Pastor Mensa Otabil on various preaching platforms had mocked the free SHS agenda by saying that if you want the best education for your child you have to pay for it. He also condemned the “All Die Be Die” statement by saying that anybody who has that mentality is a bad person. But when these statements were made public, Pastor Mensa Otabil went berserk.
In an unparalleled press conference, Pastor Otabil who claimed nobody could use or play his words even though he has some people who sell his preaching tapes every day on the streets, uttered some words that shook many people to the very core. The following words by Pastor Mensa Otabil still ring a frightening bell in the ears of Ghanaians, “That was when I realized I was dealing with a marauding and bullying force that was bent on impugning my name and integrity without shame. This is defamatory. This is unethical. This is criminal. This is malicious. This is Machiavellian. This is evil. It is a violation of my person and my integrity.”
Pastor Otabil piled on with these words, “When political operatives sample, splice and edit a pastor’s words to mean something other than what was intended, and then go ahead to lift those words from their proper context and place them within a partisan context…that is immoral.”
“Let me state clearly that the sound bites that have been played with my voice have been taken totally out of context. In some cases, phrases from different messages I have preached over the years with no relation to each other have been mischievously pieced together to create the impression that I was making a current contribution to the on-going political debate,” he stated.
Pastor Otabil also added that, “I can handle it when people disagree with me. I can handle it when people debate the merits of something I have said. I love to debate. I can take criticism. What I cannot take is evil. There is a sinister force on the prowl in our nation. It is the force of impunity. It is a force of treachery. It is a force of evil. To keep silent in such a situation is to allow evil to triumph.” Can you ever imagine Jesus Christ spewing these kinds of words at people created in the Image of God? Perhaps, Pastor Mensa Otabil who has become fabulously rich by following God and has chain of businesses and currently lives in a one-million dollar house at the Trasacco Valley in Accra has reached a certain point in life where he believes that no one has the moral right to pass anything that he utters through the fire. That scary issue was finally put to bed and President John Mahama went on to win the elections hands down.
But Pastor Mensa Otabil who may have thought that the strong words which he used during his infamous press conference to describe the NDC will turn the Christendom against the NDC and tilt the elections in favour of the NPP, has not rested since the NDC coasted to victory.
The Chancellor of the CUC who is also the Board Chairman of the First Capital Plus has virtually been silent since the NPP’s twice defeated flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Co. went to court to contest the results of the 2012 Presidential Election.
But just as the leopard does not change his spots, Pastor Mensa Otabil was probably bidding his time by waiting in the wings and religiously following the proceedings at the Supreme Court (SC) with eagle eyes and gripped attention with the view to striking at the appropriate time. When it became abundantly clear that the NPP’s lead counsel, Mr Philip Addison was winding down on his incoherent cross-examination of the Electoral Commissioner, Dr Afari Gyan, the ICGC General Overseer thought that perhaps the right moment to strike by putting his plan in the public domain has come. It is important to note that the conclusion of Addison’s cross-examination gets us closer to the determination of the case by the justices after they have listened to the addresses by the parties involved in the petition case. Pastor Mensa Otabil has told his congregants on multiple occasions that he is a Pastor and nothing more. And I must confess that he is a terrific Pastor/Teacher who knows the bible inside out. But on Sunday July 14, 2013, Pastor Mensa Otabil turned from a Pastor to a Prophet.
In a sermon to his congregants on that day, Pastor/Prophet Mensa Otabil stated the following, “I have a sense of heaviness in my spirit concerning the destiny of this country that there is something heavy ready to fall upon this country; that if we don’t take charge of that, we will be in a different state a month from now.”
For the purposes of those who have been following the petition case, I want to say that with both the petitioners and respondents given two weeks to prepare and file their addresses, the nine justices will possibly take between three to four weeks to pour into the pros and cons of the case and make their ruling by the end of August 2013. That is my estimate. Therefore, what does Pastor Otabil mean when he made his pitch that a month from now something dreadful will happen in the country if we do not take charge? The man of God went on to say that, “We need to take note that Elijah was just like us, and he came from Tishbi, which is a village not found on any map till date - but because he prayed earnestly, he was able to make a declaration about the destiny of his country and his declaration shaped the destiny of his country.” The NPP folks immediately pounced on the sermon and hailed Pastor Mensa Otabil since the sermon was meant to put the fear of God in the nine justices to make sure that they declare Akufo-Addo victorious in the petition case to avoid the “something heavy that is ready to fall upon this country”.
Since that sermon, we have seen so many NPP activists praising Pastor Mensa Otabil, but we are also seeing something different this time around. Pastor Mensa Otabil’s sermon has been expounded in various ways, but this time round he is yet to hold a press conference to declare that his words have been taken out of contest.
We have also not seen anything coming from Pastor Otabil’s end to condemn those making quotes from his sermon. In fact, he is yet to declare that the NPP folks who are playing the sermon in their favour are marauding and bullying force who are bent on impugning his name and integrity without shame.
People are waiting to hear Pastor Otabil say that what the NPP people are doing is defamatory, unethical, criminal, malicious, Machiavellian, and evil and a violation of his person and his integrity.
What probably is good for the goose has never been equally good for the gander. And this reinforces the fact that even though four legs are good, two legs will always be better. Which is why even in the religious world, certain class of people or even certain political parties will always be more equal than others. Pastor Mensa Otabil is supposed to pastor his congregants no matter their party affiliations, sex, creed, tribe or social strata. He is equally entitled to support any political party of his choice and desire. But when Pastor Mensa Otabil is seen to be playing one political party against the other, then we have a serious problem on hand.
Ghana will not die, to borrow the words of late President John Atta Mills. Therefore, any dark clouds that have been seen hanging on Ghana will definitely go away. God will surely not let this country suffer unnecessarily because of one man’s unrepentant desire and that of his cohorts to become president of Ghana at all cost. If, therefore, the intention of Pastor Mensa Otabil is to create some fear and panic among the SC Justices to tilt the petition case in favour of Nana Akufo-Addo, then I must say that he will fail woefully. God does not work in that format.
The SC case will be judged on its merits and not on the supposed vision by Pastor Otabil. I am of the view that Pastor Otabil should rather pray the more than anybody else, because when war breaks out it is normally those who have more than the society thinks they should who suffer the most. And by living comfortably at the Trasacco Valley with chain of businesses following his trail in addition to so much money to burn whilst many members of his church wallow in poverty, Pastor Mensa Otabil should be one of the few Ghanaians to harbour the greatest concerns about the possibility of war.
Woe unto anyone who uses the bible or God’s Name to say something that does not reflect the thinking or intention of God. The God of the NDC is the same God of every political party. God does not discriminate, and He normally pursues the lost souls who need redemption the most than the saved souls. Many pastors in Ghana treat the NDC with disdain but one thing they have never learnt is that the God of the NDC keeps shining His light on the party in all adversities that is why the NDC keeps soldiering on.