The Ghana Police Service has issued a statement warning preachers not to spread fear and panic with their doomsday predictions as the new year approaches.
Over the years, some preachers in the country have made prophetic pronouncements that have included death threats, controversial political predictions, and other issues that have raised national security concerns, particularly during their December 31st watch night services; this is a trend that the new police administration hopes to reverse.
“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 while 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,” the service said in a statement signed by Superintendent Alexander Kwaku Obeing, Director of Public Affairs.
“Over the years, some religious leaders’ communication of prophecies of harm, danger, and death have created tension and panic in Ghanaian society, putting the lives of many people in fear and danger,” the statement continued.
“As a result, we would like to caution all Ghanaians, particularly religious groups and leaders, to be cautious in their statements, particularly in how they communicate prophecies, which may harm others’ rights and the public interest.” The Ghana Police Service wishes to state unequivocally that it is not opposed to prophecies. “We acknowledge that Ghanaians are a religious people who understand and believe in the centrality of God in our lives,” the service added.
People who publish or promote such content from the preachers may be arrested, according to the security service. “We would like to remind you that it is illegal in Ghana to publish or reproduce a statement, rumour, or report that is likely to cause fear and alarm among the public, or to disturb public peace if the person has no evidence to prove that the statement, rumour, or report is true,” says the statement. “A person found guilty under these laws could face a term of imprisonment of up to five years,” the statement said.