Prez Mahama, please tell your surrogates to leave me alone for I’m but a simple pastor – Mensa Otabil
Written by danquahinstitute.org Monday, 12 November 2012 14:30
The General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil has responded in clearest terms yet to what he calls evil attempts to expose him to public ridicule “and the running harassment against my integrity.”
He said the doctoring and manipulation of his sermons over the years to give them political twists was defamatory, unethical, criminal, malicious and evil.
In the past few weeks, a number of audio tapes have been released in which the preacher has been heard making comments that appear to criticize the political promises of the opposition New Patriotic Party.
The first tape had Dr. Otabil arguing that free education, (the NPP flag-beater Nana Akufo-Addo has promised free SHS), could never be possible.
The tape received wide publicity, prompting the church to release a statement denouncing the tape as a "collection of thoughts edited from a message shared by Pastor Otabil several years ago and pieced together to create the impression that he is taking a stand on the current political debate on the issue of education.”
But that did not deter those bent on using Dr. Otabil’s sermons for political purposes and they released many more tapes.
At this point, he said, “…I realized that I was dealing with a marauding and bullying force that was bent on impugning my name and integrity without shame.”
“But for the mischief and persistence, I would have remained quiet on this matter,” he added. But “let me state clearly,” he emphasized, “that the sound bites that have been played with my voice have been taken totally out of context; in some cases phrases from different messages I have preached over the years with no relationship to one another have been mischievously pieced together to create the impression that I was making a current contribution on the ongoing political debate.”
He said the development was not only a violation of his person and integrity but also a sign “of grave impunity for [some] individuals to cease a person’s thoughts without their consent and use it in a way that seeks to expose them to public hostility and disrespect.”
Most disturbing, he said, is the fact that even when the Church released a statement denouncing their conduct, the purveyors of the political chicanery, who had hailed him when the dubious sound bite seemed to favour their cause, turned round and condemned him.
“No one, and I repeat, no one, has the right to force their thoughts into my words; I own my thought; I own my words and I own my beliefs,” he stated.
There is a sinister force on the prowl in our nation; it is a force of impunity; it is a force of treachery; it is a force of evil, and good men in the Ghanaian society must speak out, he implored.
“When political operatives sample, splice and edit a pastor’s words to mean something other than what was intended and then go ahead to lift those words from their proper context and place them within a partisan context, that is immoral; when political operatives highjack a pastor’s words, manipulate them to build partisan jingles and play them on party information vans across the country, that is mischief; when political operatives with sinister motives deliberately position a pastor to become a target for ridicule, animosity and hostile attack, that is evil,” he lamented.
Pastor Otabil called on “all people of faith – Christians and Muslims, pastors and imams – to demand for righteousness, justice and fairness in our national discourse.”
He also called on President John Mahama to rise up and speak on this issue because “the perpetrators of these blatant acts of impunity are largely affiliates and surrogates of your party.”