The Ghana Police Service has reiterated its caution to religious leaders against the use of mass media to communicate death prophecies and other prophecies that create fear and panic.
Speaking on TV3’s 2021 Year In Review, Wednesday, December 29, Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Kwesi Ofori said, “The police is not opposed to religious freedoms. Prophecy is something when it is done it needs to be done in a lawful manner in a proper way. We are saying, when you are communicating such things, make sure that you do not create fear and panic, you do not negatively impact on the lives of families, individuals, groups, associates, among others, and also visiting deaths and other things on people.”
“One thing is, who even appointed somebody to determine that, to put that person in perpetual fear? One thing we want to know is, as a church, if somebody is in your church and you have seen something it is good that you arrange and meet that person, discuss it and see how as Christians how you can deal with it but not to use the mass media pronouncing deaths , pronouncing sickness and other mishaps. That is unaccepted and when you create fear and panic, I bet you, the Police will move in to apprehend whoever is doing that. We have put a sound argument across that we want everyday to respect the constitution , respect the laws, individual freedoms,” he added.
“We are not saying we are going to use the law to cower any religious figure or personality, that is not the case. This thing has become a worrying trend.”
Meanwhile, founder of Worldwide Miracle Outreach, Dr Lawrence Tetteh, has noted that some prophets have abused the power of prophecies over the period hence the action taken by the police against prophecies.
Speaking in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3 Thursday, December 30, the renowned international evangelist, and economist said, “We have abused prophecies that is why the police is acting this way.”
He however noted that the church has contributed to shaping the Ghanaian society hence they should be celebrated for this success.
He said “Ghana needs to really applaud Christian leaders for the goodwill. God has used the church to bring some sanity to this nation and we should thank God for that.”
Regarding the warning given to men of God by the police against publication of death prophecies, he said, “In every community, from the days of old until now, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. Whether you like it or not, it is human society. In the days of the Bible there were false prophets , in the days of the Bible there were prophets who were prophets of doom but the Bible said by their fruits we shall know them. Here we sit today, you and I will not go to certain churches.”
The police had cautioned religious leaders in Ghana to be measured in their utterances, particularly the way they communicate prophecies, ahead of New Year Eve’s services.
“We want to caution that under Ghanaian law, it is a crime for a person to publish or reproduce a statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace, where that person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour or report is true,” the police warned in a statement issued on Monday, December 27.
“It is also a crime for a person, by means of electronic communications service, to knowingly send a communication that is false or misleading and likely to prejudice the efficiency of life saving service or to endanger the safety of any person,” the statement signed by Superintendent Alexander Obeng, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, added.
“A person found guilty under these laws could be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to five years.”
Friday’s services across the nation will be the first since Inspector-General of Police Dr George Akuffo Dampare took office.
He had met religious leaders over prophecies deemed to cause fear and panic in the nation.
That meeting was precipitated by a fake gun attack on popular musician Shatt Wale, who had later indicated he took that action as a result of a prophecy by the Founder and Leader of New Life Kingdom Chapel, Bishop Stephen Kwesi Appiah, on an Accra-based radio station before the Monday, October 18 incident.
The man of God, popularly known as Jesus Ahuofe, was arrested and later granted a GH¢100,000 bail.
The police admitted that they are not against prophecies especially in a country where the centrality of God is in the live of many.
“There should be no apprehensions, therefore, about undertaking the various activities.”
“We ask only that everyone keeps within the law and is mindlful of the welfare of each other.”