Opinions Mon, 13 Aug 2018

Truly I perceive that Mensah Otabil cheats prosecution

A typical Ghanaian is not without a perverted pleasure to defend Church leaders willy-nilly, even if such defense dents the image of the church. The rhetoric around self-acclaimed pontifical televangelists and their clandestine dealings/businesses are so incendiary that it usually clamps down on the integrity of journalists or individuals who raise such topics.

Talking about revered church leaders like Pastor Mensah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church [ICGC] almost invariably stigmatized such media men not only as trumpeters of Armageddon but also, agents of Lucifer himself. Touch, not my anointed [Psalm 105: 15] syndrome coupled with a confluence of social interplays make it increasingly and palpably difficult to speak against powerful televangelists.

The psalmist stated in [73:1] that "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!" ICGC members who stand by their leader in the banking industry scandal must equally stand by Mr. Alfred Wayome because both are not only Ghanaians but created in the image of God. Perhaps Otabil’s God is magnanimous while Wayome’s God is callous!

The snags of the 1992 constitution like winner take all, excessive powers of the president have not only succeeded in splitting the nation but also in smashing Ghana into social and political bits wherein egregious economic crimes are protected by vitriolic partisan media and legal ventriloquism without taking the trouble to clean the rubbles. The central bank of Ghana [Bank of Ghana] began to liquidate the malfunctioning banks a few months back. The management of the affected banks made economically preposterous decisions by injecting liquidity without proper production.

The Capital Bank under the directorship of Pastor Otabil has been hit with the afore-cited scandal culminating in the lender of last resort (BoG) pumping the tax payer's money to resuscitate the bank. Ghana's reserved bank's amount of 128 million dollars could not prevent Otabil led Capital Bank from collapsing. Audit reports on the activities of the Capital Bank reveal heart-wrenching deals, at the expense of Ghanaian taxpayer.

2 Timothy 4:2 requires pastors to "preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." Yet, pastor Otabil failed to give careful instruction to the management team of the troubled Capital Bank. The roles of the board of directors of a bank are given below.

The board together with the top managers is responsible for the strategic planning of the bank. The board formulates policies and objectives of the bank for the chief executive officer to operate within. So where did pastor Otabil learn banking or strategic planning or MBA? Not in-line with Christ's conduct; "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness" [Matthew 9:35] many uncompromisingly doctrinaire Church leaders boast of a repository of all knowledge ranging archaeology to zoology.

The board helps the bank to maintain a balance between the enterprise and caution; risk management. Risk management focuses on actuarial computations which require individuals with an erudite mathematical background. God's men must "read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear[a] and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read" (Nehemiah 8:8). Preaching in Africa unlike teaching is easy and characterized with religious hocus-pocus and metaphysical nonsense. Church members do not ask preacher men questions. Those who asked questions are perceived to be influenced by the devil.

Otabil ventured into an area outside his core mandate as a pastor and could be prosecuted if found blameworthy. Selective application of the law in itself is a sin in the eyes of God that pastor Otabil serves. "Whoever says to the guilty, "You are innocent," will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them" [Proverbs 24: 24-25].

"I stand with Otabil" phrase is too late for him because his God is a God of Wayome also. Unless there could be many Gods. For example, if a man was created in the image of God [Genese 1:27] and the former is required to worship and adore the latter, it is not wrong to think that God must be serving a higher being just as man serves a supreme being.

The God that was used to justify the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism in almost quincentennial years ago must be different from African Mawu, Nyame or chuku who provides children to the childless reflecting the anthropocentric and anthropomorphic African worldview of the supreme being thought to reside in the heaven above.

Perhaps the modern God of the televangelists who believes in affluence as the only sign of blessing is different of God of Moses who provided a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to the downtrodden [Exodus 13: 22].

It is probable, there could be many heavens or kingdoms of God. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth [Genesis 1:1]. Where was God living when he was creating the heaven and the earth? God cannot live in non-existing heaven and create the same heaven. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" [Matthew 24:35].

Where will God live to know that his words will not pass away? From the Lord's prayer, we are told God only arts in heaven. Nevertheless, God that Otabil claims to serve is one known as Jehovah Tsebaoth; lord of the host [1 Sam 17: 45-47] and Jehovah Tsidkenu; righteous [Jeremiah 23: 6], that God is spirit [John 4:24], He is invisible to human [John 1:18].

Whether God approves the prosecution of Pastor Otabil or not is contingent on whether he approves Ghana's constitution or not. Prosecution of Otabil appeared to loom when found guilty as Bible entreats true believers to submit themselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority [1 Peter 2:13].

Calling for forensic audit and prosecution of Otabil is a reminiscent of Socrates of Greek fame's encounter with Euthyphro outside the court of Athens interestingly espoused in Plato's dialogue. The purpose of the encounter was to understand piety [holiness]. Socrates was dragged to court on the grounds of impiety [unholiness] by Meletus while Euthyphro had come to court to prosecute his own father on the charges of impiety [for unintentionally killing his own laborer]. Socrates heaped praises on Euthyphro that his understanding of religious matters must be deep to the extent of prosecuting his own father of evildoing.

This was a great opportunity for Socrates to understand unholiness in order to present a strong defense in a trial against Meletus. Euthyphro then defined holiness as the act of persecuting religious offenders. Socrates disagrees with the definition since there are many acts of holiness apart from prosecuting religious offenders. He then charged Euthyphro to come again on impiety. Euthyphro stated that holiness refers to what the gods agree with.

There was a polytheistic belief in ancient Greece, so without attenuation, Socrates repudiated the definition again because gods could quarrel to wit they do not always agree. The conversation continued until Euthyphro had nothing to say. Those calling for Pastor Otabil's prosecution must be mindful of the fact that there are other relevant acts of pursuing justice for the country rather than blaming a man who has contributed enormously to the development of Ghana.

Otabil was Otabil before he became the head of the board of the troubled capital Bank. His inability to ferret out administrative ineptitude that engulfed the running of the Bank does not make him evil! Leave Otabil alone!!!!!!!!!! Also, Nana Appiah Mensah must be left alone!! Ghanaians have penchants for attacking local businesses. Many expatriate firms are indebted to Ghana but their businesses are still operational in the country. Truly I perceive that Otabil must escape prosecution. God Bless Pastor Otabil, God bless Ghana.

Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei