Generally, I tend not to take any personal position on the socially destabilizing effusions of our latter-day Ghanaian prophets, so-called. I have absolutely no judgment call in these matters, but sometimes one begins to wonder whether some of these death-dealing “prophets” do not have or are not afflicted with any personality disorders that make them seem to have any qualms when they make other prominent fellow Ghanaian citizens the targets of their so-called prophecies, either callously or clearly forgetting that like themselves, these prominent Ghanaians, like Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu and President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, also have relatives, family members and partisans who dearly care about their well-being.
What surprises me, though, is the fact that these vainglorious “prophets” seem to be more fixated on acquiring the “I-told-you-so” bragging rights than what the real Christocentric prophets who are truly imbued with the dynamic spirit of God, which is to privately consult with the subjects of their ominous prophecies and pray with them in a spirit of fellow-feeling sympathy and empathy. Were the tables to turn the other way around, with some of their own fellow men-of-the-cloth prophesying the imminent deaths of deal-dealing prophets like Rev. Isaac Owusu-Bempah, of the Glorious Word Ministries International Church, what would their reaction be? Some of these latter-day prophets are widely known not to be imbued with the characteristic hallmarks of the sort of calm and collected men who are clearly envisaged to be divinely ordained and blessed with the right temperament and wisdom to be prophesying the same.
One hopes that the overwhelming majority of the apparently desperate followers of these veritable apostles of self-glorification could readily see the proverbial light and be rescued from the sort of primitive mind-games being opportunistically played on them by many of these “spivs,” for that is precisely what most of these latter-day death-dealing prophets are. Many of them are con-artists who tactically and clearly play on the fears of vulnerable Ghanaians as a means of making a living. You even have some of these so-called prophets who have been married multiple times who do not seem to be morally and spiritually well-tutored enough to be able to make such basic choices as their rightful helpmeets. And yet these same wretched souls are suavely able to pass themselves off to others as divinely ordained men and women who are capable of leading other desperate and woefully misguided souls into the Kingdom of God.
We even learn of some who have lost their own children, whose alleged or self-proclaimed prophetic powers had not enabled them to foresee death approach their own hearths or households. Indeed, one would have expected that a man who has good communion or communication links with God, or Divine Providence, would at least have received some hints about such imminent misfortune. What inspired this piece, however, were news reports that the National Chief Imam had caused the arrest of some four more vandals who allegedly participated in the wanton destruction and damage to properties belonging to the Owusu-Bempah-led Glorious Word Ministries International Church at Odorkor, in Western Greater-Accra Region (See “National Chief Imam Causes Arrest of 4 More Attackers of Owusu-Bempah” MyNewsGh.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/8/19).
I was not the least bit surprised that Sheikh Sharubutu would follow through with his word of helping to bring each and every one of the criminal suspects to book. Now, I don’t know whether such development points to the possibility of most of the vandals having come from the Muslim community. Which would pointedly appear to contradict a visibly shaken and aggrieved Pastor Owusu-Bempah’s claim that the Hausa-speaking vandals or criminal suspects had been let loose on his church by some operatives of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and that these criminal suspects may have absolutely no affiliation, whatsoever, with the Islamic faith or might have originated from the Muslim community. Such speculation may clearly derive from the fact that Pastor Owusu-Bempah is a well-known member or sympathizer of the ruling New Patriotic Party.
Some versions of the news reports also had the vandals coming all the way from the Bole-Salaga environs of the soon-to-be Savannah Region, which would immediately put close associates, followers and sympathizers of former President John Dramani Mahama under the media spotlight. Ultimately, though, what is teachable or significant to learn here is the fact that one’s democratic free-speech rights are absolutely no license for indulging in death-wishing prophecies, which may not necessarily be any divinely ordained prophecies at all, but frivolous mind-games purely aimed at slavishly captivating a reserved pool of human quarry to be deviously and wantonly bilked for wealth and critter comforts or lavish lifestyles.
On the latter count, former President Jerry John Rawlings, the acclaimed founding-father of the National Democratic Congress, may be smack on point when he poignantly notes that the immortalized and globally celebrated institutional foundation of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was a carpenter by profession and only avocationally a prophet and teacher of religious principles and practices; so, in the opinion of Chairman Rawlings, any modern-day cleric or religious leader who has no other profession besides preaching the proverbial Word of God must be a thief. Well, I am not quite sure that I unreservedly agree with Mr. Rawlings. But I also think that he has a significant point that is worth considering.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York