Give Us A Break, Duncan Williams

In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking. But he who restrains his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).

I have said severally in this column that this country is gradually moving away from its secular nature that permits freedoms of religion, association, worship and the like. Underlining these noble freedoms is the respect for individuals and groups with differing views and opinions as long as those views and opinions do not conflict with our laws, values and belief systems.

I admit that in every society there is always a predominant opinion on belief systems, values and religion. However, such dominant beliefs should not and must not be allowed to enslave the rest of the populace. This is the reason why our constitution recognizes Ghana as a secular state.

Sadly, for political reasons, politicians have raised religions over and above the secular nature of our society over the years, knowing very well that in some societies, religion has destroyed communities, lives have been lost and hard-earned property lost. People, who were born, bred and established businesses and livelihoods in those communities all their lives, are suddenly enemies and are hounded and killed. Neighbouring Nigeria is a classic example.

For political reasons, the overburdened taxpayer in this country has to subsidize Islamic Hajj to Mecca – a holy act which is purely an individual affair. Governments have saddled themselves with this religious requirement of our Muslim brothers and sisters to the point that when travelling arrangements do not go well, the government takes the flak for it.

Surely, if any Ghanaian of whatever religious or none religious faith gets stranded anywhere in the world, it is the responsibility of the government of Ghana to offer every possible assistance to ensure the safety of such an individual or groups of individuals. Governments have taken the responsibility of flying pilgrims to their holy sites and back to Ghana at our expense and therefore budgeted for it.

The recent controversies surrounding the construction of National Cathedral in the national capital, Accra, raised a lot of concerns particularly in view of the fact that public assets are to give way for religious consideration. And, immediately, did you see the reactions of some Muslim leaders on the fact that the state is either facilitating or financing the construction of a Christian Faith facility? Those Muslim leaders instantly forgot that the same state resources are used to subsidize their annual Hajj and that a facility has been built at the Kotoka International Airport to make them comfortable. Thankfully, our religious differences are not too extreme to create deadly friction amongst us. Why should governments bring this unto themselves other than political reasons?

Sadly, today, some so-called men and women of God (the rest of us are children of Satan) have been allowed to take this nation hostage by their actions and utterances. Hardly does one get up in the day without one form of negative prophesy or the other from a so-called man of God recovering from a stupor. Their prophecies are about some big men going to pass on to the next world. Common sense approach to life, critical thinking, racking of brains to find solutions to physical and material problems have given way to miracles and fasting as a means of solving our national problems.

So badly have they inflicted and polluted the minds of their congregants that even the most educated among them have become seriously dogmatic to the point that one could conveniently say they have been being brainwashed. Unfortunately, many of those congregants of some crooks parading as men of God are highly placed in public institutions, employed to think and fine solutions to challenges in the organisations they work for. And if their mindset is about miracles and fasting to find solutions to practical problems, then I am not surprised public institutions are failing.

The nation is in economic difficulty arising out of many factors. Basic economics will teach you that even at the personal level, if one’s expenditure outstrips one’s income, there is a deficit. Nations that face financial challenges in normal times are simply spending more than they earn and that has been our lot since independence. When governments spend recklessly through excessive borrowing which has no bearing on national incomes, it creates financial problems for the nation.

The strength of any currency is dependent on how much a nation spends on its imports vis-a-vis its exports. If the strength of the cedi is going down, it is simply because we are spending more foreign exchange than we are generating as a result of our consumption patterns. No amount of fasting and prayers, as advocated by Duncan Williams, can reverse the current situation. Yes, according to him, the perfumes he uses are very expensive that his congregants cannot buy. They are not produced in Ghana.

We have become enamoured with Shopping Malls where the elite and the so-called men of God shop. What percentage of the goods in those shops is produced in Ghana? You shop ‘nyafu, nyafu’ goods not produced in Ghana and you think your cedi will have strength. If fasting and prayers and miracles produce goods and services, stop purchasing imported goods and the cedi will be stable.

It’s time to tell these rogues parading around in the name of God that nations develop with deep thinkers, hard-working, honest and sincere citizenry and not soothsayers and believers in miracles. Israel, the home of Jesus Christ, so we are told, does not survive on fasting and miracles. They work very hard, they are honest, sincere, disciplined and law abiding. Duncan Williams, miracles and fasting may solve problems of your congregants but Ghana’s problems require right thinking, hard work, honesty, sacrifices, discipline and obedience to the laws of Ghana.

Ironically, when the so-called men of God want money they don’t pray or fast for it; they virtually extract the monies from the members of their churches with all manner of tales to support their mega lifestyles while the majority of the congregants wallow in poverty and joblessness.

When the nation at some time decided to sell off some of its industrial assets, churches bought them for worship and not for production of any goods and services. They operate in industrial areas and residential areas and do not add a single job to the job market neither do they pay any taxes to the state in spite of the opulent display of wealth by the Duncan Williams’ of our times. Yet they complain about joblessness among the youth.

They should start fasting and praying for jobs for the young ones in their churches to alleviate their poverty. If prayers and fasting have positive effects on the economy, Capital Bank and the rests would not have collapsed. If the managers and the Board of Capital Bank for example used their brains as other banks do, it would not be in the state it finds itself today including the loss of jobs for staff, some of whom may be members of ICGC. We need thinkers and not ‘fasters’ to build this nation.

The monies that got stolen did not disappear through miracles or fasting. Human beings stole them and I believe all of them are Christians and great worshippers. Stealing in the name of the Lord, it reminds me of Max Romeo.

Very young people in other nations have effectively used their brains to produce the phones, the computers and all the modern ICTs that have made life relatively easier for all of us. None of them fasted nor did their inventions come out of miracles and ear-breaking noises in the deep night. Instead, they burnt the candle quietly to achieve what they achieved.

In the process, they have earned billions for their various countries and themselves. Their currencies will be strong against other currencies. Let’s think and stop this balderdash.

By Kwesi Biney