It has been established that the much talked about Pastor Mensa Otabil tape shooting down the highly trumpeted free education policy being espoused by some political parties, especially the New Patriotic Party (NPP), is about a decade old.
The General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), courted controversy when he was caught on tape saying education can never be free and those who believe in such promises that fees will be free, do not understand what goes into the payment of such fees by parents.
The highly respected man of God’s position was in stark contrast to promises made by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the main opposition NPP about making education from the basic level to the Senior High School level free.
Pastor Otabil, who implicitly rejected the concept of free education, posited that parents still pay for their wards’ education through taxes and also raised concerns over the quality of freebies with regards to the policy of free education.
“If somebody tells you something is free, ask them what the quality is; because if you don’t know the quality, don’t take it free. If somebody tells you something is free, ask them what control I have over it. If you think that it is free, even when it is bad you can’t complain,” he noted.
But a Senior Associate Pastor of the ICGC, Rev. Kofi Okyere, told Kwami Sefa Kayi, host of PeaceFM’s flagship programme, “Kokrokoo” that his General Overseer’s voice being circulated in media is “a collection of thoughts edited from a message shared more than a decade ago and pieced together to create the impression that he is taking a stand on the current political debate on the issue of education.
“Pastor Otabil did not make the comments attributed to him on that tape recently. He said it ten years ago in church; when he wanted to put up a University but I believe someone released it with ill-motives. He is not against education. Our church is currently even assisting students to learn and get a better future,” Rev Okyere said.
Rev. Okyere said the church intends issuing a statement on the issue and believed the tape was released at this particular moment because its contents seem to favour someone.
“I don’t know the real reason why the tape was released at this moment but I think it favours someone and that was why it was released….He was talking about Tertiary education and not Free SHS education. It’s been taken completely out of context…The church does not indulge in partisan politics. We have a representation of all the political parties in the church and so there is no way we can take sides. It will not augur well for us…” Rev. Okyere added.
Source: Rebecca Addo-Tetteh/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana