Religious leaders in Ghana have been cautioned by police to temper their words during New Year sermons or face a five-year prison sentence. ayokinews.com reports
This was made known in a statement released on Monday, by the Ghanian Police titled “Ghana Police Service Statement On Communication Of Prophecies And Their Legal Implications.”
According to the police, some religious leaders’ broadcast of predictions of harm, danger, and death has produced tension and panic in Ghanaian society, putting the lives of many individuals in peril.
They warned religious leaders to be cautious about how prophesies are communicated in New Year messages, warning that anyone found guilty faces a possible five-year prison sentence.
See full statement below:
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 prophesies 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, 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 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.
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.
The Police wish to assure all religious organizations that we are committed to ensuring maximum security during the 31st December night, end of year services and beyond. There should be no apprehensions therefore about undertaking the various activities. We ask only that everyone keeps within the law and is mindful of the welfare of each other.
We also urge all Ghanaians to observe the COVID-19 protocols religiously so as to protect ourselves, families and friends from this ravaging pandemic.
We also take this opportunity to wish all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
SUPT. ALEXANDER KWAKU OBENG DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS