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30th December, 2021
The Ghana Police Service has warned religious leaders to desist from giving negative prophecies as the new year, 2022, approaches. It is a usual practice for pastors to claim that God told them certain things that would happen in any coming year. It is a yearly ritual in Ghana and Nigeria.
The big Pentecostals, Evangelicals and White Garment churches in Nigeria make it part of their end of the year liturgy. While some of the religious leaders in Nigeria are more direct, others make predictions as a sweeping generalisation. They couch their statements in subtle diplomatese. In most cases, they base their logic on premises arrived at after studying a trend over the past 12 months. There have been many hits and misses!
For Ghana Police, however, it was not a blanket ban. Seers are free to prophesy in so long as it is positive.
According to a statement issued by the police on 27 December 2021: “Over the years, communication of prophecies of harm, danger and death, by some religious leaders, have created tension and panic in the Ghanaian society. They put the lives of many people in fear and danger.”
The Ghana Police went further: “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. That is, where that person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour or report is true.”
Below is the Full Statement:
GHANA POLICE SERVICE STATEMENT ON COMMUNICATION OF PROPHECIES AND THEIR LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
- As the year 2021 draws to a close, the Ghana Police Service wishes to draw the attention of Ghanaians, especially religious groups, to the fact that whereas we have the right to religion, freedom of worship and free speech, all of these rights are subject to the respect for the rights and freedoms of others according to our laws.
- Over the years, communication of prophecies of harm, danger and death, by some religious leaders, have created tension and panic in the Ghanaian society and put the lives of many people in fear and danger.
- 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. That is, where that person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour or report is true.
- It is also a crime for a person, by means of electronic communications service, to knowingly send communication that is false or misleading and likely to prejudice the efficiency of life-saving service or to endanger the safety of any person. 5
- . A person found guilty under these laws could be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to five years.
- We, therefore, wish to caution all Ghanaians, especially religious groups and leaders to be measured in their utterances, especially how they communicate prophecies, which may injure the right of others and the public interest.
- The Ghana Police Service wishes to place on record that the Police are not against prophecies; we acknowledge that we Ghanaians are a religious people who know, and believe in, the centrality of God in our lives.
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