The Ghana Police Service has cautioned religious leaders not to make New Year prophecies of “harm, danger, and death” or anything else that could “create tension and panic” in the Anglophone West African country in 2022.
Religious leaders in several West African countries with megachurches, such as Ghana and Nigeria, make New Year predictions near the conclusion of the previous year or at Crossover Services on December 31st to usher in the New Year. Some of these prophesies have been known to induce fear, and many of them do not come true in the end.
Anyone found guilty of causing tension in Ghanaian society through harmful predictions could face a sentence of up to five years in prison, according to a statement signed by the Ghana Police Director of Public Affairs, Supt. Alexander Obeng.
The letter marked, ‘My Ref: PAD/PRESS/VOL.3/1/256’, was titled, ‘Ghana Police Service statement on communication of Prophecies and their legal implications’.
The letter read, “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, 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.