Ebo Quansah in Accra .
A church has hit on a bright idea of collecting tithes and offerings without its members necessarily coming to service. Once upon a time, the church was the last place for reform, now, our money driven church-activities are nursing all manner of reforms.
Since when did the church start advertising its activities in the media anyway? Trust the craze for money to induce our one-man churches especially, to reach out for reforms. An advertisement on the official twitter handle of Joy News of Sunday, July 29, says members of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) “who are unable to attend church on Sundays can pay their offering through an on-line bill payment platform, ExpressPay.
“The church members can easily send their money through the ExpressPay app to the church’s bank account. ExpressPay is available on the Webb, Android and IOS,” the advert directs.
What the advertisement failed to discuss is how a person paying his or her tithe and offering from home would benefit from the church service of the day. It tells everything about how the church of today is sinking into the money syndrome. I tell you, the Word of God is being offered for sale. Salvation is the least on the minds of these so-called Men and Women of God, whose activities have virtually curtailed magic as a comedy. Most magicians are now parading themselves as leaders of one-man churches in this country.
The love for money drives the church, I dare state. Sermons crafted in the name of living word, and other prophetic messages assailing our ears on electronic media and every street corner one turns to, are carefully choreographed to empty believers’ pockets.
The last time I checked, this nation is still a secular society. But, everywhere one turns to, there is organised noise advertising salvation. It is nauseating to state the least. But many of what I call armed robbers in cassocks are gradually turning this society into enclaves of Christian pilgrims. The irritating thing about these so-called Men and Women of God is that many have very dodgy backgrounds.
A popular Archbishop is happy to state that he turned to Christ after stowing away on ship on two occasions. On both occasions, he was deported back to his country of origin. Talk to any of the leading figures in the One-Man Church industry, and you are likely to receive a lecture on how Saul became Paul on the Road to Damascus.
How our street corners and children playgrounds led to their Damascus is anybody’s guess. The coefficient, my apology to one lawyer at a commission sitting in Accra, is money.
If you ask any of them how he or she came by the cassock, you must be prepared to listen to a long lecture on how they received the holy ghost and became born again interpreters of the Bible, which reminds me of a very interesting case in London.
When I arrived in Her Majesty’s Great Britain to begin 13 years of habitation as a refugee of the ‘Decade of Silence imposed by Jerry John Rawlings, my attention was drawn to a huge banner in the Voice Newspaper, a publication dedicated to the black community, advertising a church owned by someone I knew in Ghana. In Accra, before both of us landed abroad, our paths crossed a number of times on Sundays at the football terraces. Both of us were supposed to be Christians, but we never really bothered much about church services.
When I called the telephone number on the advert, my good friend answered it. “Good friend,” I shouted. He was equally elated on learning that I had made it to London. “Since when,” I asked in the Fanti dialect, “did you become a clergyman?”
His answer was that he had a vision while on the Ghana Airways flight from Accra to London. The road to Damascus, apparently, is now going through Accra, and particularly Kumasi, the unofficial leader in the making of leaders of the one-man church in our part of the world.
The craze to be classified pastor, reverend, prophet, bishop and evangelist, is getting out of hand, and not all these so-called Men of God are happy with the proliferation of these churches and their leaders.
Brother Owusu Asiamah, head of the Church of Christ in Takoradi, is seething with anger over the turn-around syndrome of these leaders of the one-man churches. Preaching the sermon at Church on Sunday, which has gone viral on social media, Bother Asiamah lamented that these so-called leaders of churches were threatening to bring the sanctified religion in Ghana into disrepute. He had a powerful message too for the appointees of the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In his opinion, while the Head of State is striving to change this society to reflect the wealth and human resource available to this country, government appointees are more interested in personal benefits. They are dragging the entire society down, he told his congregation.
Writing about events bringing this society down reminds me of the claim made recently by Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, one-time Attorney-General, who parceled a whopping GH¢51.2 million of state cash and delivered it to Alfred Agbesi Woyome for doing nothing. The woman is virtually daring Ghanaians to put her on trial.
I understand that my Viking colleague is vying for the chairmanship of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party Jerry John Rawlings established using the whole governance system, and maybe, state resources. I am not really worried if Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu succeeds in leading the NDC or not. That is the problem of the party and the woman herself.
What irks me, as a Ghanaian, is the failure of the state machinery to recoup Woyome’s loot all this while. As a Ghanaian social commentator observing the poverty in the system, the paralysis with which the state is tackling the serious business of getting Alfred Agesi Woyome to account for the loot is demoralising, to state the least. What is equally irritating is the posture of the former Attorney-General.
Here is a woman who succeeded in parceling state cash and handed it to a colleague in the NDC, without any attempt at satisfying herself that the man collecting the loot had done anything worthy of that quantum of money, turning round to taunt the poor people of this society.
Read the lips of the one-time chief legal adviser to the State of Ghana: “I don’t think my actions were triable…In the end, the Court of Appeal – three judges – gave a verdict on whether this money was procured fraudulently and my role in the matter came up, and they all insisted Betty Mould-Iddrisu, as AG, acted professionally. She acted competently. She followed due diligence.”
Mrs. Betty-Iddrisu could tell this to the marines. For all I know, she has not been put in the dock to answer for her role in the gargantuan loss to the state. It is annoying to recall that some Ghanaians spend the most productive times of their lives in prison, just because they were tried and found guilty of depriving the state of some items valued at very ridiculously low sums of money.
We cannot continue to treat those who caused huge financial loss to the state in the Woyome affair and continue to be lectured by the main dramatists. Whatever is responsible for the long delay must be ironed at quickly for Woyone to pay back every pesewa of the loot.
If a poor man steals an envelope in the office in this Republic, the tendency of him or her being dismissed instantly, in addition to being prosecuted in court, is more pronounced than another person stealing millions of state funds through misrepresentation. If you conduct a research in our prisons, you are likely to come out with statistics stating over-representation from the poor than the rich. In this country, you are more likely to go to jail if you steal a fowl, than if you grab millions of state cash through fraudulent means.
It is necessary to put Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu’s contention in court. For all I know as a social commentator, the former Attorney-General has never faced any court of law over her discretion or lack of it over the GH¢51.2 million loss to the state.
The law, according to those who practice it, is an ass, but I would be thrilled to be told that all those who presided over the process leading to Woyome’s GH¢51.2 million have been given their days in court.
The court and its processes are not for the faint-hearted. But the idea of palm-wine tappers deliberately spicing palm wine using pesticides to process the drink is criminal. “Let me point out that those who drink palm wine face possible health risks, including some form of cancer, because most tappers use pesticides to process the drink,” eminent Scientist Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Manso warned on radio the other day.
It is not the only health hazard in the beverages world of Ghana these days. Now, pineapples are having carbide treatment to enable them ripe early. We are told that preservation of my favourite fish, koobi, for instance, is attracting the use of pesticides. Using chemicals to cut down the time for drying the fish to be ready for the market is all that concerns our fisher-folks.
The love for money is destroying our society at an alarming rate. The good old heart surgeon has opened many hearts and knows the effect of misapplying chemicals on the food and beverages we take in.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng is calling for an outright ban on the application of weedicides and some form of pesticides. “Using pesticides do not only kill the weeds, it can indeed damage the soil as well, and I strongly support a ban on it.”
I am disappointed that the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is not leading a crusade to get all these dangerous farming aides banned.
I am not a scientist, but my natural instincts tell me that the misapplication of pesticides and weedicides are the main reasons the edible land snail and mushroom (both of which are my favourites in light soup) are missing from their natural habitats.
The love for money is destroying this society. We better rise up and kick out this tendency to be rich at all costs syndrome to save our society right now.
I shall return!