A leading member of the government's Communication team, Ras Mubarak has denied media reports that the Mahama-led NDC is sponsoring about 200 selected Pastors to embark on a trip to Israel.
Reports trickled in from news sources that the government was alloting an amount of $2 million to fund the travel of some Pastors to Israel to allegedly pray for President John Dramani Mahama.
According to a Daily Guide publication on Thursday, March 14, 2013, “each Pastor would be given $10,000 amounting to $2 million, to cover their cost of air fare, hotel bills, feeding and perdiem.”
The report further revealed that “on February, 15, 2013, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, who is currently the Minister of Youth and Sports, wrote on the letterhead of the State Protocol Office inviting Christian bodies to select nominees for this rare trip.
In the letter (Reference number SPO. C/09) signed by him and addressed to one of such Christian bodies, a copy of which is available to Daily Guide, he said “The Government of the Republic of Ghana has secured sponsorship to take two hundred (200) Ghanaians from the Christian Community on a pilgrimage to Israel. Your Council has been allocated ten (10) slots from the list.”
The letter also asked each group to nominate 10 members for the trip.
There were speculations that the Pastors are tasked to seek divine protection for President John Mahama regarding the prophecy of doom by Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, Founder and Leader of the Glorious Word Power Ministries International.
But Ras Mubarak has debunked the report saying government is only facilitating the Pastors’ trip “in kind, not in cash”, also stating firmly that the government is not paying any sum of money to the men of God.
He explained that the Ministers of God made a request to the government during the reign of the late former President John Evans Atta Mills to embark on a pilgrimage to Israel but could not see their request through due to the demise of the President.
Upon inception of the Mahama-led NDC government, the request has been granted and the sole role that government is playing is to ensure that the Ministers travel to Israel without complications.
He revealed that the trip is rather sponsored financially by a private entity but did not disclose its identity. The private institution sees the need to dole out money to support the Pastors in Israel, therefore, the Mahama administration has done nothing wrong to facilitate their movement.
To him, government is committed to building a unified nation and so, won’t discriminate against the citizenry. He argued that if the Muslim community is assisted by governments to travel to Mecca during Hajj, then it is hypocritical for any person to kick against the commitment of government to create equity in the country.
“Why must it not be a problem to support or to facilitate the travel of muslims to Mecca but a problem if christians are being assisted?...2012 for instance; people from the Northern sector came to Accra. Government flew them in from the Northern sector to Accra for onward training to Mecca and that cost was being borne by government. And Ghanaians didn’t complain about the fact that government facilitated in getting Muslims from Northern sector to Greater Accra to travel.”
He further disclosed that the Kufour government in 2008 doled out $2 million to facilitate Muslim pilgrims, so the incumbent government is also creating an equal opportunity for the Christian community.
“A spiritual nation is a productive nation as well…Why must it be okay for us to help Muslims and not okay for us to help Christians?” he questioned.
He therefore stated emphatically that government will not fund the Ministers’ Israel trip.
“No government money was going to be used in this particular trip [I can tell you that on authority]. And that it was a group of private institutions or individuals who wanted to help our brethren in the Christian faith to travel to Israel. What government was doing, was merely to facilitate this trip.”
“They are not being sponsored by government as being put out by the media…No government money is going to be for this particular trip. Secondly, a group of Pastors have made a request that they would like for government to facilitate their travel to Israel, I mean this is something that any responsible government would do.”
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