Saturday, 21 January 2012


                     Take care of the people, and God almighty will take care of himself.
                                                       - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in The Sirens of Titan (1959)

He was your boy next door. He started out as Brother James. The church started out in a classroom. The headmaster of the public school had allowed him to use the school premises smitten it would seem by his glistening white even teeth, boyish smiles and the Christ like humility with which he put his case. The church grows and not after yearly bouts of raucous prayer sessions accompanied by over amplified sounds from musical instruments that leave the neighbourhood keeping wake; and not that they cared one hoot. It is God’s business after all and if that meant keeping one week babes, the convalescent and senior citizens awake so be it!!!Having barely completed junior high school Brother James displays a sophisticated understanding of his times; essentially because he knows the patina and smell of pain and want with its unyielding brutality on body and mind. He knows too many people are poor in Ghana and desperately seek an escape; a quick fix. In fact he himself is mapping out an escape route embodied in the growth and fortunes of the church ably and duly named THE REDEEMED CO-OPERATIVE WONDERFUL FEAST OF POWERFUL MIRACLES INTERNATIONAL CHURCH. The “ international” in the sobriquet shows that Brother James has plans of world domination( thanks Reggie Rockstone for this line) to be executed through a national siege wherein his church will spring up in every space that can be hired. 

His sermons and major sacerdotal routines are about saving bodies from the hell fire of want and penury not any heavenly kingdom as such; heaven is right here at Trassacco, in an American visa, Benzos, bespoke clothing, shiny gaudy jewellery and the like. God has become the master dispenser of material bounties the quantum of which you possess determines your very visible and public godliness; you have found God’s favour; Halleluia Amen!!!!Our Brother James unleashes this doctrine day in and day out onto his church folk aided in no small measure by his oratorical skills and larger than life theatrics. If you want a visa there is a price; if you wanted a job there is a price. The offertory and prayer request receptacles brim with dough and soon the church building project has began. 

The church building is completed and opened with glitz and pomp reserved for the Oscars or the Asantehene’s enstoolment. A phalanx of politicos are invited to the sod cutting ceremony. Our politicos grin from ear to elbow salivating to be around  Brother James who is now a Rev. Dr. Bishop. The last thing our politicians think about is how all this money was raised tax free to build this edifice while the rest of us labour under crushing taxes some of which are used to provide street lights for the Kwame Nkrumah Motorway without a useful pesewa being thrown at the actual road itself. Politics and religion have clearly entered an incestuous bond united in our Republic by a phantom dictum: promise what you will NEVER deliver!!!Call it grand con artistry delivered with blinding finesse and allowed to seduce the populace via media outlets which are willing accomplices so long as the dough flows. 

Our Brother James’s face and that of his wife now beam down on us with capacious smiles from gargantuan (thank former A-G Amidu for popularizing this word in our Republic!!) bill boards. Signs of God’s favour which now include a fleet of cars, abodes in the plushest neighbourhoods, kids education at the most expensive schools yada yada yada. HALLELUIA!!! AMEN!!! God is GOOD OOOOO……Attracted by all this bling bling and even more forceful promises of these goodies in sermons that are light on Christian virtues and values our compatriots flock in droves to Brother James’s church. Day and night they troop in full of earnest hope and it does not matter that they live in shacks, take the most rickety tro-tros(including the tattered buses of the church) and shell out their meager earnings to boot. 2012 may yet be the year of their breakthrough!!!!  HALLELUIA!!! AMEN!!!    

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