Recent attacks on Reverend Samuel Asante Antwi, a former President of the Methodist Church of Ghana should not deter the clergy or opinion leaders from either criticizing or condemning the government when it becomes necessary to do so.
The critics tend to overlook many factors. In the first place, one should not forget that, the Reverend Minister, by the nature of his calling is not expected to remain silent when he sees certain inactions or inadequacies being exhibited by the Government or its appointees.
In Biblical times, God raised up Prophets who gave give spiritual guidance and directives to the Kings and people of Israel. Thus Elijah the Tshibite had an open confrontation with King Ahab over the question of idolatry and about the usurpation of Naboth’s vineyard.
When David coveted Uriah’s wife God sent his Prophet to pronounce judgement on the King. Elijah also had a squabble with Ahab and Jezebel of the ‘commandeering’ and usurpation of Naboth’s vineyard and the subsequent stoning to death of the rightful owner. John the Baptist also rebuked Herod when he ‘appropriated’ his brother’s wife as his own.
In all these instances, the powers that be used their ‘earthly powers to show their victims where power lies. What was the outcome of the use of such executive instruments of coercion? Disaster!
Now analyze the following scenario. Reverend Asante Antwi is a committed member of the New Patriotic Party. He is a founding member. He is no longer in charge of any congregation of the Methodist Church. He has not for once hidden his membership of the New Patriotic Party. It would have been hypocritical if he had done something different from what he said.
The gathering was all an NPP affair. It was a Thanksgiving Service to God for having a successful National Congress devoid of any acrimony. It was expected that almost everybody at the service would be of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo stock. A grasshopper has got nothing to do in a meeting of animals. A cockroach does not walk into a gathering of hens and expect to get away free from the meeting. One should also not forget the fact that the occasion was not a normal Sunday Service. The event was held on a Saturday.
What did those condemning the Reverend Minister wanted him to say? Sing the praises of the Mills administration? Absolutely no! It was politically expedient to join in the euphoria of the moment. And everybody knows that the Mills administration has not performed. It is only those strangers in Jerusalem who would think otherwise.
By the way, what was wrong with what the Reverend Minister said? Was he not echoing what was being said everyday everywhere including our bus stops, churches, workplaces, markets, institutions of learning, kitchen and even our farms.
The Atta Mills has failed us” has become an everyday mantra. Has indiscipline not reared its ugly heads an all facets of our daily lives? What about corruption? The less said about it the better. It has reached such an unprecedented level so much so that ex President Rawlings always refers to it as the canker which will destroy the Nefarious Destructive Cancer. Can you imagine a situation where you have to bribe your own gateman before he opens the gate for you! This is how bad the situation in the country has become. How many people can afford one decent meal a day?
Is the Government and country not moving in an anti-clockwise direction? Yes, these are the realities on the ground but the powers that be tell us that we should not talk about them. When Anas exposed the rot at the Osu Children Home through his in depth investigation and came up with video clips, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Enoch Teye Mensah questioned the rationale behind the publication. He attributed it to mischief on the part of the investigative journalist and the newspaper he works for. By the way, The Crusading Guide owned and managed by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako.
But E.T.Mensah has perhaps forgotten that about a year ago, the NDC government had gone to video tape Maame Dorkono’s Love and Peace orphanage and made a lot of unsubstantiated allegations against it before closing it down with the excuse that its licence had expired.
It is only those who are blind that do not see the rot in the system. And so, the Reverend Minister, being the eye of God has every right to speak out, lest the wrath of God descended heavily upon him. If you should condemn Reverend Asante Antwi for voicing out what the masses feel and experience daily basis but find it difficult to come out with them, then what do you make of Ministers of State, who are paid from the taxes of hard-working and impoverished Ghanaians, who instead of staying in their officers to work are on daily basis moving from one FM Radio Station to the other hurling insults on members of the previous regime and also attempting desperately to defend the indefensible by spewing forth propaganda. I wonder whether Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State like, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Omane Boamah, Hannah Bissiw, Kobby Acheampong, Nii Lante Vanderpuye and many others have time to attend to official state matters.
This is not the first time the Clergy have commented on national issues. They have from time to time come out to condemn certain policies of Government they find abhorrent. They did it during the Acheampong’s days. They wrote many pastoral letters to the then government of the day lamenting the woeful state of the country found itself in. I remember the Catholic Standard and the Legon Observer. They were very critical of the Acheampong Days. Those papers were my favourite.
But the irony of the whole ‘show’ is that those who are criticizing him today did not have the balls and guts to do so at the time he was at the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana. Where were their balls then and why are they doing so now?
Bishop Desmond Tutu of the ANC, the Reverends Abel Muzorewa, Edson and Ndabaningi Sithole criticized both the South Africa Apartheid system and the illegal Ian Smith Regime of Southern Rhodesia when they deemed it appropriate to do so. Reverend Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson also criticized the so called ‘Separate but equal opportunity system in the United States.
In Nigeria, Bishop Adebiyi of Arch-Bishop Vinning Anglican Church and the Reverend Father Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Church were at the forefront of the pro-democracy movement that sprang up after the annulment of the June 12 Elections. They, through their public pronouncements and Sunday sermons became acclaimed heroes when they criticized and condemned the repressive and clueless regime of the late dictator, General Sanni Abacha. By that singular and patriotic act of theirs, they become instant heroes and famous for denouncing most of the bad policies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Bishop Hawkson also became notorious for supporting the Union Government concept of Acheampong.
We were all here in this country when Togbe Afede made his infamous proclamation that under ex-President Kufuor, the people in the Volta Region were treated like strangers in the country. But it was ex-President Kufuor, who against all odds made the Electricity Project of the revered chief see the light of day. And Togbe Afede, during Kufuor’s time was made a Board Member of one of the financial institutions in the country. And the Constitution forbids Chiefs from meddling in politics! Yet those who are criticizing Reverend Asante Antwi did not see anything wrong with the infamous pronouncement of our revered Chief
Why should NDC apologists praise Bishop Desmond Tutu for speaking against the policies of the then government of the day but reprimand Reverend Samuel Asante Antwi for adopting a similar stance? God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him ion spirit and truth.
The Lord whom we all serve has spoken at various times through his servants at various times. The Lord spoke to Moses to go and rescue his people from the land of the Pharaoh. Reverend Asante Antwi is the catalyst God is using to bring freedom to all Ghanaians, irrespective of party and tribal affiliations. He should rather be commended for his boldness rather than condemnation.
Samuel Asante Antwi has spoken the minds of majority of Ghanaians. Before being appointed a member of the lame and clueless Mills Government, the then Majority leader and the Chief Whip of the Nefarious Destructive Cancer, Alban Bagbin and Enoch Teye Mensah had criticized the Mills administration for non performance.
The ‘chameleonic’ Kwesi Pratt had on a number of occasions taken a swipe at the President for being slow. Sekou Nkrumah has also added his voice to the criticisms and got fired from his job in the process for being too vocal.
The former First Lady, ably supported by her husband, ex-President Rawlings, who, single handedly ‘anointed’ Mills as Presidential Candidate of the Nefarious Destructive Cancer summed up the frustrations of ordinary members of the party when he openly stated that the President was not only being slow but was moving in an anti clockwise direction. In that wise, the party would have no message to present to the electorate, come 2012 elections.
Reverend Samuel Asante Antwi was only re-echoing what top members of the Nefarious Contraption has stated in clear and unambiguous words. Reverend Samuel Asante Antwi has committed no sin.
I therefore urge you all to embrace the ideals of Vision 2012 which has its core message the recapturing f power and restoration of the lost glory of Ghana under the Akufo Addo President. And that is why I sincerely urge you to vote out the incompetent Mills’ administration. You have nothing to lose if you did just that!
Daniel Danquah Damptey (danieldanquah_damptey@yahoo. com