Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, has become the latest high-profile personality to be verbally abused by elements of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for speaking boldly on national issues.
He is being ‘lashed’ on both online and radio for daring to hit out at critics of the government’s Agenda 111 project meant for the construction of hospitals across the country when he described people with such a mindset as witches and wizards.
Prof. Mante had said he could not imagine how such a laudable project to be undertaken by a ‘poor’ nation like Ghana would attract opposition, and drew the conclusion that only witches and wizards will be against Agenda 111.
Specifically, the highly-respected religious leader said, “Recently, I heard the Minister of Health hinted of something and later the President of the Republic announced publicly that the government intended to construct 111 health facilities across the country,” adding that “Some will be district hospitals and others will be clinics, amounting to 111 facilities. Nana Chairman, what beats my imagination in this country is that we find ourselves in abject poverty and someone says he wants to construct 111 health projects and some others are angry.
“Is it not witchcraft?” Prof. Mante queried rhetorically saying, “Some of the things do not make sense to me. We allow politics to blind us to the point that as people in abject poverty without good hospitals compared to what we have abroad where a hospital is a hospital and a clinic is indeed a clinic.
“Someone says he wants to construct 111 hospitals and you are angry out there, it means you are indeed a witch or wizard incarnate. If you are a pastor looking for witchcraft to exorcise please look for this kind of witchcraft.”
No Specific Target
Even though the Presby Moderator never mentioned anybody specifically, the NDC has regarded itself as the target of the clergyman’s remarks and have since been harassing and badmouthing the Moderator as it has always done to anybody speaking on national issues that the NDC stands to oppose.
The first to launch the foul-mouthed verbal assault on the personality of the Presby Moderator is the former Youth and Sports Deputy Minister, Joseph Yamin, who stated on radio that the action of Rt. Rev. Prof. Mante was meant to seek favours from President Akufo-Addo.
According to Yamin, he feels disappointed being a member of the Presby Church on the account that the leadership is “turning the church into an NPP campaign platform.”
“So the Presbyterian Moderator doesn’t know Afari Hospital, Kumawu Hospital, Fomena Hospital and others have been abandoned for so many years? He failed to condemn President Akufo-Addo for abandoning those projects, but he is attacking those criticising Agenda 111,” he fumed on Pure FM in Kumasi.
He cynically said that the speech delivered by Rev. Prof. Mante at the commissioning of the Assin Praso Presbyterian Hospital in the Central Region was written for him from the seat of government, and said the Moderator sounded “too political” in his view “instead of being nationalistic.”
On social media, sympathisers of NDC on the party’s platform called NDC WEB were unequivocal in their condemnation of the Moderator for his comment.
One Sorkpor Pius Vincent wrote: “It’s only fatherless people who would sit somewhere and be insulting clear minded people who are correcting so-called Rev. Ministers who choose to abandon the word of God for political and rhetorics.”
Another person by name Domatiere Timothy also wrote: “As at now he does present himself as a religious leader but a politician promoting their angel that they backed to come to power. Very sad indeed. JM 2021.”
Agbemavor Tsey, who describes himself as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Founder at MACdetailz said “Please, think of yourself. I am very sure one must have an NPP membership card to qualify him as a moderator. These people make Christianity some way. Very shameful.”
Emmanuel Kodzo Godzillah was rather harsher and foul-mouthed the Presbyterian Moderator, writing on the page: “You are mad if you this pastor support this stupid idea at the expense of schools and hospitals. Did you learn your pastoral lessons in a cathedral? Very foolish lunatic in a cassock.”
Another NDC guy who goes by the name Ibrahim Yussif wrote: “This church is a demonic church, let them do what their master satan asks them to do; they will be soon cut off.”
While the NDC supporters were subjecting the learned Professor to verbal assault, a lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Political Science Department, Prof. Ransford Yaw Gyampo joined the fray with his unsolicited comments, saying that Christians and their leadership should never use their belief to suppress people who have challenges over policy direction.
He wrote on his Facebook page: “Agenda 111 may be one of the things President Akufo-Addo may want to do for Ghana as part of his legacies. But given our history of policy discontinuities, it is well within the right of any Ghanaian to raise questions, particularly about whether the project may be completed before the President completes his second term. There is nothing sinful and demonic, both religiously and politically about this.”
By Ernest Kofi Adu