By Dr. Nana Sifa Twum, Media and Communications Consultant
For about two years running, the Ghana Police Service has issued stern warnings to religious leaders against making alarming New Year prophecies or predictions, which can cause fear, anxiety, commotion, or death. Though some religious leaders do not absolutely buy into this decision by the police, there appears to be some level of compliance with the directives.
This obviously has brought some sanity and relief to the people from unnecessary fear and anxiety.
Hitherto, the nation at the very beginning of the year would have woken up to a series of fictitious and negative predictions termed as prophecies by some self-appointed Church Leaders, known to some people as men of God’, about some prominent citizens of the land.
Unfortunately, two notorious so-called church leaders continue to predict doom for some individuals and the nation. These leaders have decided to come out with predictions that are always controversial and they only do this on 31st December nights. One question is, Does God speak to His people only on the last day of the month or year? These two leaders have predicted serious matters bothering on national security and unity, such as coups and deaths. This is not surprising, as most of these predictions have not come true or come to pass but have been proven to be lies. Some three years ago, for instance, the so-called prophecies that appeared to be so worrying and attracted so much criticism and condemnation were those that came from the founder and leader of one Church on doom for prominent people in the country.
In the said prophecy, he was reported to have indicated that some individuals are planning to poison the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, spiritually. He also said, among other things, that former President John Mahama and current Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia were going to die that year.
Apparently, what made him incur the wrath of a section of the people was the prediction about the death of the national chief imam, Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, who turned 100 in April, of that year.
Frankly speaking, what at all was prophetic about predicting that a 100-year-old man would or could die? Is it not an issue of playing on the emotions and intelligence of the people? Such actions and utterances from such church leaders put them in a larger space of public ridicule and, worst of all, put unnecessary fear and panic among the populace. Much as this is considered a matter of faith or belief, it importantly borders on national security and unity. In which civilised society in the world could someone go to the media and have the guts to announce that the head of state, either current or past, is going to die and would not be picked for security interrogations? This is apparently an offence against the laws of the land, but who is to act? Reacting to the doom prediction, some victims, including Kidi and Kuami Eugene, both young musicians, expressed regret about what another prophet said about them.
“The prophet doesn’t know me, but I believe he could have searched for me if it was that important to him to broadcast. Such utterances from the pulpit place psychological trauma on victims, and this is so strong that it can have a terrible effect on anyone who is not strong. Why some people continue to do this to their fellow human beings is still a mystery for now, but people also believe they do that to hype their fame, this charming more people to their self-established churches to earn more income.
Others believe they do that to unduly display supremacy over their competitors in the church business. Like all spiritual gifts, the gift of prophecy is used first and foremost to edify the children of God and not to threaten them, as stated in Ephesians 4:11–12. Prophecies about God’s people are almost always in relation to coming back to God when He finds His people going astray from His dictates.
The problem is that, just like all human institutions, there are good and bad prophets. But how do we identify the good from the bad? God Himself reiterates in Jeremiah 23:21, that there are some He has not sent and therefore forewarn His people.
The Police Administration deserves to be applauded for this bold decision. Now such false prophets cannot go on their own way to bring distractions, disunity, discomfort and discords within our society.