Some prophecies can be purely personal matters

Rev Isaac Owusu Bempah
Rev Isaac Owusu Bempah

The ongoing row between Pastor Owusu-Bempah, of the Glorious Word Ministry International, and some members of the late Capt. Maxwell Adam Mahama’s family is neither here nor there, as it were (See “God Didn’t Speak to You – Mahama’s Family to ‘Liar’ Bempah” / 6/3/17). The ancient Akan philosophers were well aware of the fact that all acts of divinity were purely personal, individually and communally, which is why many of our ancestors did not take kindly and warmly towards the advent and propagation of Western-sponsored Christianity.

Indeed, the immortalized Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics, Dr. J. B. Danquah, even once wrote that it was because of the forcible conversion of Islamic jihadists that the ancestors of modern Akans fled the region of present-day Algeria and Senegal to present-day Ghana. The fact of the matter, though, is that we live in a modern multiethnic and multicultural society which guarantees both freedom of speech and religious worship, and non-religious existence as well. What this means is that we are always going to have legions of citizens who claim to be possessed with special divine anointment and the gift of prophecy, who may feel compelled from time to time to let the will of God, as these individuals envisage the same, to be known to all citizens and residents of the land, irrespective of whether many of us approve of such fire-and-brimstone pronouncements or not.

This attitude towards the perceived relationship between the Divine Godhead and humans is not peculiar to any one type of religion and/or religious denomination. There are Prophets and Mallams in both Christianity and Islam, two of the major imported religions in Ghana, who believe in the sort of Prophetic Divination widely practiced by the likes of Pastor Owusu-Bempah. There is absolutely nothing that anybody can do about the activities of these Prophets, Mallams and religious leaders. They have an inalienable right to espouse their disparate faiths, inasmuch as each and every one of us, Ghanaian citizens, also have a right to either buy into such “prophetic” pronouncements or roundly reject the same.

The raging shouting match between Pastor Owusu-Bempah, a man who played a very public and, some would even say, partisan role in the lead-up to Election 2016 – and we must quickly point out that the leader of the Glorious Word Ministry International was not alone in such passionate partisanship – are, both of them, perfectly legitimate. The bone of contention here is Pastor Owusu-Bempah’s widespread allegation that the brutal lynching of Capt. Mahama in the Upper-West Denkyira township of Obuasi, Boase, is a veritable act of Divine Sanctioning aimed at punishing a politically reckless former President John Dramani Mahama who, by the way, we are informed, is the uncle of the slain soldier.

Now, the logical question becomes: Why would a Divine Providence who is globally known to be fair and just, choose to have the blood of the innocent nephew of former President Mahama spilled so savagely, and not the blood of one of the known children of the former President himself? That is a question worth doggedly and meticulously pursuing to its logical conclusion, because it defies logic and common sense, the way we have all come to know and experience the same. Indeed, I may virulently disagree with the interpretation of Capt. Mahama’s death as espoused by Pastor Owusu-Bempah and his ilk. But under absolutely no circumstances would I deem such interpretation to be either “stupid,” as one angry critic had occasion to characterize it, or validate it, for that matter.

For, once again, even as our Akan sages of yore were known to be fond of saying: “When one person was bidding farewell to his/her God prior to setting off on his/her journey to this Earth, none else was present with the subject.” Not even the parents who biologically brought us into this world are known to be privy to our destiny, or what we are apt to become or not become in the final analysis.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

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