Julius Maada Bio
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Sierra Leone: Corruption and the Church in Africa, a cosy mess

Churches in Africa have accommodated corrupt activities, exacerbated by the prosperity gospel. Beyond the prosperity preaching, what the continent needs are churches that encourage  members to stand against oppression and corruption.

Fatmata Edna Kargbo, the State Chief of Protocol Officer to Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has been placed on leave after giving testimony of how God favoured her at the church of Prophet T. B Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations. The testimony of Mrs. Kargbo was aired on Emmanuel TV, the television station of Synagogue Church.

Kargbo, a career diplomat and civil servant is being investigated by Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission. Questions continue to be raised on the source of her wealth. There has been outrage in the country after her testimony on how she was living in a single room apartment and now resides in a luxurious house.

President Bio came into power in 2018 and has been seen as a strong anti-corruption crusader. In January 2019, he set up a commission of inquiry into the government of former President Ernest Bai Koroma which had been in power since 2007.

Kargbo’s case is not a peculiar one on the continent. The church has been abused on numerous occasions, fuelling corruption, mostly through the wave of prosperity gospel that has swept the continent. Unfortunately, many church members are not tasked on how they got their wealth. Most congregants give to the church, which is encouraged but tends to benefit those in top hierarchy of the churches. Testimonies told in church show others in the congregation how God truly works.

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While prosperity preaching has encouraged more of laziness, and the mindset of quick wealth, it has affected nation building. Matthew Brima while addressing the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship said, “A lot of people talk about the Church [being] a mile wide and inch deep… to some level it’s true… there’s very little integration of faith and work and public life”.

Emmanuel TV released the video of Kargbo’s testimony, contradicting statements that said she built the house three months into her new job.

Africa as a continent, despite having so many churches, which preach moral uprightness still battle corruption. There is no denying that corruption feeds the church. While the message of prosperity is continually espoused, the message of freedom against oppression is hardly mentioned. Beyond prosperity, what the continent needs are churches that encourage  members to stand against oppression.

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