Prophets work overtime in the country of the gods

As the crisis sparked by a rebel uprising in Ivory Coast drags on, gods, prophets and mysticism are appearing everywhere—in newspapers, on television, even in political debate.

Ivory Coast is the “country of the gods”, “the global centre of spirituality,” and a “land of balance and sharing,” one state television reporter declared recently, wrapping up a report in which he said the “key to victory” over insurgent rebels was to chase 500 000 immigrants from Burkina Faso out of the country.

President Laurent Gbagbo, who is an evangelical Christian and keeps a “spiritual adviser” known as prophet Kore Moise in his entourage, often asks God to come to the country’s rescue. “God, whom I often speak to, is God of peace, but he’s also God of armies,” he said during an address to the nation.

“May the all-mighty God bless Ivory Coast and free us from the wicked,” he said in another speech. First lady Simone Gbagbo said on national television on Saturday that the current “dirty war with disastrous consequences” was a test given to the country by God.

“God gives, God takes away,” she said.
Not a day goes by without masses or prayer services or séances with self-styled priests, evangelists and other preachers.

At the International Ministry of God’s Grace, “evangelical psalmist” Cyprienne Flumoku recently held a “day of prayer and brotherly communion through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

In this highly mystical atmosphere, another “servant of the Lord,” Kouassi Bright, explained in the ruling party’s newspaper Notre Voie that “certain evangelical churches which don’t have access to President Gbagbo had prophecised his fall this year, and you know that in such circumstances they are always working so that these prophecies are fulfilled.”

“Superior evangelist” Ediemou Blin Jacob says that everywhere Gbagbo goes, there is a “spirit.”

“God’s armies will give Ivory Coast victory,” he predicted. Methodist and evangelical protestant leaders met with Gbagbo last Wednesday and then led three days of fasting and prayer.

“The greatest battles are won on your knees,” one of the pastors said.

The president of the Ministry of the Word and of Prosperity, prophet Jean Baptiste Adou said this weekend in Notre Voie that at 4:12 am on October 14, he had received a “violent vision.”

God told him, among other things, that people must continue their “contributions to the peace effort,” and that opposition leader Alassane Ouattara—who is a Muslim—“is no longer a problem, for God told me that he had cut him off entirely.”

Prophet Behaha Joliver, who regrets that Gbagbo hadn’t heard his calls, wanted to reassure the people. “Concerning the financial crisis, the Lord has prepared a plan to resolve the situation,” Joliver said, because God has chosen Spain as “Ivory Coast’s privileged partner.”

“The Lord asks that the president of the republic turn toward Spain.”

“But France is very close to Ivory Coast. Why does God prefer Spain?” a journalist asked Joliver in the daily La Bombe. France is the former colonial power.

“It’s a secret. Everything cannot be exposed. We have only to pray,” he said. French troops on Sunday created a buffer zone stretching through the centre of the country to secure a fragile ceasefire in a month-long uprising that has left rebels in control of half the west African nation. - Sapa-AFP

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