The Ghanaian government has warned pastors, ‘prophets’ and other clerics who will be caught making prophecies of harm, danger and death as the world awaits to usher in the new year.
The Ghana Police Service, in a statement dated Monday, condemned the religious leaders in question, saying they have over the years 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, where that person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour or report is true,” reads the statement.
Those found guilty of fear-mongering through their 2022 predictions, the statement added, were liable to a jail sentence of up to five years in prison.
“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 government, however, stated that the warning was not a campaign against prophecies but instead against abuse of the right to religion and the freedoms of worship and free speech.
“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,” stated the police.
The statement has nonetheless elicited mixed reactions, with those opposed to it claiming the government is trying to silence the church, and that prophecies come from God and cannot be controlled.