NZASR Conference 2018, NZASR Conference 2015

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POLITICAL MANIPULATION OF THE OCCULT IIN GHANA: EMBRACING THE OCCULT
Comfort Max-Wirth

Last modified: 2015-08-26

Abstract


This paper will argue that in Ghana, although there is an anti-occult rhetoric that is driven by the Pentecostal discourse, in a smaller way, there is a resistance.  This is because while some Ghanaian politicians avoid the occult by appealing to Pentecostal sympathies, others are embracing it by boldly identifying with it. These politicians who embrace the occult are provocative in the ways in which they publicly invoke it—in word and deed—as reported in the Ghanaian media. The paper will be guided by the following questions: How have some Ghanaian politicians invoked the occult through their public actions and statements? What does this invocation of the occult tell us about its place in Ghanaian society and politics? Why are these politicians embracing the occult in spite of the Pentecostal influence in Ghana? In answering these questions, the paper will demonstrate that politicians’ alignment with the occult serves a dual strategic focus. On the one hand, the strategy generates controversy, which leads to publicity and an enhanced media profile. On the other hand, the strategy provides a means for building their political identity, advancing claims to trustworthiness, and asserting power, which are all central forms of political capital.


Keywords


Religion and politics, The occult and politics