The decision has angered the official Order of Malta.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
A Ghanaian citizen has stirred controversy in the Island of Malta over plans by an organization to knight him.
The man, known as Kingsley Fletcher, is a preacher, businessman and traditional ruler. He is the founder of the Kingsley Fletcher Ministries, a charismatic Christian organization based in the US and owner of a number of businesses in the country and overseas.
According to news reaching ghanabusinessnews.com from Malta, Mr. Fletcher whose traditional title is Nene Adamtey I and is the Suapolor of the Se Kingdom in the Greater Accra region, was due to be invested into the Knights of Malta, but the decision has angered the official Order of Malta.
Nene Adamtey I is due to be knighted in a ceremony at the Castello dei Baroni, Wardija by the “historic Knights of Malta,” the report says.
It also added that his status as a traditional ruler would make him the third highest ranked individual in the order.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), however, is objecting to this claim, pointing out that the “historic knights” are actually another organisation, calling itself the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem. Although bearing a similar name, the order, frequently referred to as the Ecumenical Order, is not affiliated with the SMOM, which is considered to be the main successor to the Knights which ruled Malta between 1530 and 1798, and which has formal diplomatic relations with over 100 countries. But no diplomatic relations have yet been established between the order and Ghana.
The SMOM also objected to the group’s plan to organise a Solemn Mass on Sunday, March 1 at St John’s Co-Cathedral. It contacted the Co-Cathedral’s rector Lawrence Mifsud who, following an investigation of the matter, stopped the church function from taking place, the reports said.
While still able to attend Mass at the Co-Cathedral on the day, members of the Ecumenical Order will not be admitted in uniforms or church robes, and no special seats will be reserved for them.
Mr. Fletcher was quoted as saying that it was unusual for an African leader to be invited into knighthood, but added that “because it is an effort of nobility, I gladly accepted”.
He is set to arrive in Malta today Friday February 27, 2009 and leave on Sunday.