Forum for proposed Religion Policy calls for regulation of activities of prophets/churches

By Prince Acquah

Elmina (C/R), Nov 21, GNA – Some stakeholders at a consultative meeting for a proposed National Policy on Religion, have called for the certification of prophets and the regulation of their activities to combat the scourge of fake prophecies.

They have also called for a policy to regulate the proliferation of churches and streamline religious activities in Ghana to conform to societal and ethical values.

The meeting, organised by the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs in Elmina with support from UNFPA, sought to solicit the inputs of stakeholders into the proposed policy intended to enhance social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

The policy, driven by article 21 (1)(C) of the 1992 Constitution, aims to address the challenges and opportunities that arise from the religious coexistence in Ghana while protecting the rights and freedoms of all religious groups.

It also seeks to provide a framework on the prevention and resolution of conflicts induced by religious differences.

The participants observed that fake prophets across various religions were having a field day duping unsuspecting members of the public for selfish gains and destroying families and societies.

“Some of them have established media houses. They don’t give good prophecies because they don’t hear from God but out of their own intent and wisdom, they give prophecies.

“Some of the basic prophecies they give is calling relatives of people witches and wizards, which is breaking the fabric of our society,” they said.

“Marriages are breaking because of some of these prophecies, while children are not speaking with their parents because they perceive them to be evil,” they added.

The Stakeholders included religious and traditional leaders, civil society organisations, academic institutions, media outlets, security services, government agencies, and other interest groups.

Emmanuel Narh Huago, the Central Regional Coordinator for Basic and Secondary Schools, who led a group to discuss “Issues affecting Religion in Ghana” at the meeting, proposed that people must at least receive basic education to qualify as prophets or any religious leader.

Mr Huago, who is also a Minister of God, added that prospective religious leaders must first undergo intensive training and duly pass out to ensure they were adequately prepared for the job.

“If you claim you are a prophet, what training did you get and what certificate do you have? You cannot just wake up one day to establish or lead a church just for the sake of making money.

“The belief and impact of Christianity goes beyond making money and so if your basic aim is to make money, we don’t think it will do well for our religion in Ghana,” he added.

Mr Huago also admonished religious bodies to unite and with the support of the Ministry, establish criteria to determine true prophets and men of God who had His calling.

Mr Joseph Abbey, Director for Policy Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, said the meeting was crucial to developing a comprehensive and inclusive policy to sanitise the religious landscape and promote harmony.

“When we pick these inputs from the participants, we are going to have a larger group in Accra that will be on the validation of these proposals before it is forwarded to Cabinet for consideration and decision,” he explained.