THE CHIEF WHO DOUBLES AS PASTOR AND PROPHET
‘ ..No Chief an idol worshipper’
Stories: ENIMIL ASHON & LAWRENCE MARKWEI
Daasebre Nana Mbea I, Nifahene of Ayekokooso of the Kyebi Apapam division of Akyem Abuakwa traditional area is also known as Reverend Abraham Mbea, a pastor and prophet.
Born at Akrawful in the Mfantseman District of in the Central Region, Nana recalls what his mother narrated to him about the circumstances of his birth. “My mother tells me that in the ninth month of her pregnancy when I was due, she went into labour but for about three days, the baby (that is I) was not coming out. For three days, only my head has appeared, but the rest of the body was not coming out. I am told that a spiritualist who happened to be passing through was told of the situation. He prayed and laid hands on my mother. That is when I was born into the world”.
He says as a direct result of this, his mother attached herself to the spiritualist’s church and later became a priestess with the 12 Apostles Church at Atwreboanda, also in the Central Region.
Nana’s education was truncated at Class Five, after a stint the Ekrawful Roman Catholic School, Nyameadom Primary School in Accra.
How did he know he had been called and commissioned into ministry? Nana says that as young as eight years old, he was “seeing things”. For instance, he says, “I could see danger ahead and warn people of it. The people will move out of the way and the catastrophe will occur”.
He recalls in 1998 “in the middle of a long period of fasting and prayer, I received direction to move east. In obedience, I came to Accra where I apprenticed myself to Rev. James Osei Bonsu, of the New Frontiers Church at Dome Pillar 2”. After a period of time, the Lord made it clear to him that that was not the destination. When he proposed to move on, Rev. Osei Bonsu literally took him by hand to Okanta prayer grounds, popularly known as ‘Aposs”. These he embarked on a 120-day fast. It was during that fast that the Lord directed him to move to Teacher Mante.
Under “spiritual direction”, he went to Teacher Mante and directed to the traditional elders of the area and then to the Assemblyman. After hours of deliberation, the elders decided that he was not welcome, and asked him to leave the town. Just at that time, one of them intervened and took him home accommodated him and later helped him to put up a tent in the forest. There he began his ministry, operating, initially under the spiritual authority of the Presbyterian Church and later the Church of Pentecost.
Did the people accept his ministry? Rev. Mbea says, God was faithful to confirm to the people that He had sent me accompanied His word —which I spoke in my sermons — with signs and wonders. For instance, I prayed over water and it turned into wine. (One of those who witnessed this miracle is still around and was introduced to the press later). In the second miracle, “I happened to be among a group. We were hungry and there was no food. The people saw a bread-fruit tree (know among the Fante as Deeball”). The fruits had matured but there was no fire to roast it. I prayed over it and lo and behold, they became roasted, ready to be eaten”.
The Reverend continues: “Healings wrought by God at my hand were great. Mad men and women who were brought to my church became whole. Indeed, with insanity, the latest was two weeks. Witches and wizards who had come to my church either to ‘test’ me or destroy me spiritually were converted. I was actually holding meetings with them in church. I would announce that all witches and wizards were to meet me at such and such a time and they would come. Later, we had to stop the meetings because we realized that they were becoming stigmatized and the townspeople and church members were shunning their company. By now (around year 2000) the crowds, having witnessed what God was doing, came in droves Thus, began the Guankobea Prayer Ministry with a congregation of about 500.
For the future, Nana Rev. Mbea says God has shown him that his greatest contribution to the alleviation of human suffering would be in the area of herbal medicine. “He is showing me plants with which to treat and cure diseases like typhoid, piles, skin diseases etc.,” he said.
The Times did not forget to ask him how he became a chief and Nifahene of the area in which he is a “stranger”. Nana says even before his sojourn, he was already an ebusuapanyin (head of clan) in his village in the Central Region in which in hisa4e.r. After so many years of acting in that capacity I had the skills”.
After a number of years operating at Teacher Mante, Barima Addo Bekoe, a traditional chief of Kyebi-Apapam, apparently saw some qualities in the “stranger” and made him Nifahene. This position is higher than an Odikro because unlike an Odikro, Nana Rev. Mbea sits in a palanquin.
After weeks of fruitless contacts, the Ghanaian Times finally caught up with Daasebre Nana Mbea I, Nifahene of Ayekokooso of Kyebi Akyempim division of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional area. The paper’s interest is that as Nifahene, he is also a renowned “man of God” by whose hand (people in the area say), God has wrought mighty miracles. On whether he does not see his very dual roles as contradictory, he bared his heart to us, waxing very controversial, questioning the sincerity of the “white man” in condemning African rituals, and regretting the inferiority syndrome of Africans that makes them despise their own and unquestioningly accept everything from Europe.
Times: As a Christian prophet and pastor of a church, don’t you see your role contradicting your position as a chief who must perform all the rituals in the palace?
Nana Mbea: Chieftaincy is not synonymous with paganism or idol worship. A chief who is an idol worshipper is so by his own choice; it is not the institution of chieftaincy that makes him a pagan or idol worshipper. A chief is not an idol worshipper or a pagan merely because he is a chief. It is like the Christians who sit in church and have all manner of things around their waist.
Times: What about the ceremonies associated with the cleansing of the black stools and other objects?
Nana: The ceremonial stool is not necessarily an idol. What you have to know is the history ofthe stool. In those days when our people were journeying from one place to another, the stool was an ordinary carved object reserved for the leaders and elderly people who easily got tied after a period of walking. One of them was for the chief. It was just an ordinary stool or sitting on. There were no rites associated with the carving of the stool.
Times: But the moment I slaughter an animal and pour its blood on the stool and invoke spirits into it through libation, I have invested the stool with powers?
Nana: Why did the chief need any “power” in the first place? It is because of threats from enemies, both within and external. When the chief looked around for something or somebody to protect him, the Christians were not around. The problem with the Christians was that they did not draw close to the chiefs. They considered chiefs as pagans and therefore distanced themselves from them. Because of that, whenever the chief was in trouble or feared the use of occult powers against him, or he was going to war and needed to consult to know the outcome (as was done in the Old Testament days in Bible) he had to turn to the only source of power recommended to him by those of his elders who were idol worshippers. If the Christian had ‘-~ any powers, the chief did not know because he (Christian) had elected to distance himself from the palace which he had condemned as the citadel of paganism.
Times: But the white man eventually got into the palace of the chiefs? They ruled through the chiefs — what was known as Indirect Rule.
Nana: The white man has always been clever in his own eyes. When the white man decided to get close to the chief, it was for a purely selfish reason: it was not to give the bible; it was to use the chief to plunder the wealth of Africa; the gold, diamonds, bauxite, cocoa etc., or through the chiefs, to make the people subservient.
To return to the stool and ritual, let me ask you: what do we consider paganistic? If the black man takes to church a drum he has caved, it will immediately be condemned as an idol. When the white man takes the same wood to his country and brings it back in the form of a drum, it will be accepted in church as an instrument God has approved. Why? It is because to the African, nothing by the white man is evil and everything by the African is bad. The white man knows this that is why he has succeeded in taming us with the Bible.
Times: So your type of Christianity, or your Church, doesn’t go with the Bible?
Nana: We do, but we also know that thereis nowhere in the bible that tells us to throw away things that are native to us; our culture. The bible never tells us to prefer the white man’s ways above ours.
Take the Israelites as they journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land. Have you read the books of Exodus and Leviticus? They are full of rituals. Jesus never condemned them. The bible makes us to understand that those rituals were a shadow of the real things to come (i.e. through Jesus). But at no point did either Jesus Himself or his disciples condemn those rituals. Why does the white man not condemn those Old Testament rituals either? So why have we allowed the white man to brainwash us into accepting his imported rituals and reject our own? If those rituals were good for the Israelites or Jews in those days, why are our own rituals not good enough for us in Africa? I can tell you the answer; they are paganistic or devilish because the white man says they are. The tragedy of Africa is that we don’t believe in ourselves.
Times: So whom do you pray to when you pour libation?
Nana: I don’t pour libation. I don’t believe in it because I believe in the one true God. I don’t go to Him through any other spirit, whether those of ancestors or other gods. But at the same time, I don’t stand in the way of those who believe in libation. That’s their faith. If you can, please, answer this question: Is Christianity our original way of worship or it is an adopted religion? Let me go further; before the white man brought Christianity to Africa, what was the final destination of Africans who died; was it heaven or hell? Can anybody tell me that before the white man came down, every African who died went to hell?
The Ghanaian Times - Page: 16 & 17 Tuesday, February 16, 2010