loader

Elections Must Focus On Policies Not Religious Differences - Bawumia

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that the elections in December this year should not be about religion or religious differences.

Rather, he said, the focus should be about policies, ideas and solutions that the respective candidates have for Ghana.

Speaking at Sunday's (June 16, 2024) Eid ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) congregational prayers at the Black Star Square in Accra, Dr Bawumia said the peace that Ghana was enjoying as one of the most peaceful on the continent was due to “our religious tolerance.”

Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Adha

In that regard, he advised Muslims to continue to uphold the beautiful national value of respecting diversity, especially in religion and ethnicity and said it was essential to community, national and human existence.

He said Muslims must be inspired by acts of selflessness and sacrifice by caring for each other and also sacrificing for worthy causes for the betterment of their families and communities.

Diversity

“We live as Muslims and Christians in harmony. We are one people, we are one nation and we should let this election be about the policies and ideas and solutions that the respective candidates have for the country and that should be what we should be focusing on,” Dr Bawumia stressed.

Eid ul-Adha is a special and significant day on the Islamic calendar and serves as a day to remember the exemplary display of obedience, selflessness and sacrifice by prophet Ibrahim who obeyed Allah’s command without hesitation to sacrifice his only beloved son Ismail.

The Vice President said Prophet Ibrahim set the ultimate example of sacrifice and obedience which was impossible for any of the worshippers to replicate.

However, he said, they had to emulate the sacrificial spirit of prophet Ibrahim in their own little ways to help one another in their communities and the nation.

Global events

While commending Ghanaians for the sacrifices and understanding, Dr Bawumia explained that global events in the past three to four years, has had significant impact on nations and their citizens.

He said Ghana had not been spared thereby stretching the sacrifices of many.

He said Ghana, just like the rest of the world, was virtually shut for days and it's land borders closed to economic activities for about two years.

That, Dr Bawumia explained, led to a series of uncomfortable situations for the citizens including the sudden rise in inflation especially for food prices around this time last year.

“These developments required lots of sacrifices by Ghanaians as government tried to ameliorate the impact. Even though it was not pleasant for many Ghanaians, many understood the situation and sacrificed, as government worked round the clock to find solutions including a number of measures,” he said.

Vice-President Bawumia said “even though we are not where we want to be, that is, back to the economic boom we experienced few years prior to the crisis, the data shows that our economy is on the path of economic recovery.”

As a government, he said, “we appreciate the cooperation and sacrifices Ghanaians continue to make in the challenging times we have experienced in the past few years and government, he said, had on its part significantly cut down a general expenditure.

Indeed, he said, more has to be done in order to sustain the gains being made to ameliorate the effect on Ghanaians.

Government’s commitment

Inspite of the global economic crisis, Dr Bawumia said, government had remained committed to delivering on its mandate to Ghanaians in all sectors of the economy especially education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation.

In the area of jobs, for instance, he indicated that “data clearly shows over the last seven years, our government has created 2.1 million jobs, the highest of any government in the fourth republic but we still have more to do.”

“We have done a lot in the area of infrastructure, roads construction, health care and education through the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.  We have seen an increase in the enrolment of students from 800, 000 in 2016 to 1.4 million by 2023, a 75 per cent increase in just seven years,” he emphasised adding that “We have also invested in STEM education with state of the art facilities to provide the best in this contemporary area of education.”

The Vice-President said government had also began the distribution of tablets to SHS graduates adding that “We have to continue to prioritise and spend more on education and skills training because it is the best way to empower the youth of this country and place value in our most important national resource.”

Zongo Development Fund

Touching on the Zongo Development Fund, he said, it had been the main driver of infrastructure and human development supporting many Zongo communities in the form of schools, bridges, drainage, water systems, health facilities, information and communication centres and astro turfs.

Also, he said, a number of individuals and groups have received support in skills training, entrepreneurship support, tertiary education grants and full foreign education in scholarships.

“It is our expectation that the 40 needy but brilliant young men and women from Zongo communities who were granted scholarships to study medicine in Cuba will return home soon as fully qualified medical doctors,” Dr Bawumia indicated saying “This is what investing in education can do, creating opportunities, empowering the youth, breaking boundaries and making the seemingly impossible possible.”

He expressed appreciation to the Chief Imam and asked for his continues support as he sought the mandate of Ghanaians to serve the nation as President.

Appreciation

The National Chief Imam, Sheik Osman Nuhu Sharubutu in a speech read on his behalf expressed profound gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his utmost respect, support, courtesies, reverence, assistance and visits during his tenure.

He said these were gestures and kindness he would never forget.

The Chief Imam also thanked Vice-President Bawumia for taking over the expenses of all Eid celebrations since becoming Vice-President.

On this year’s elections, Sheik Sharubutu advised all political parties not to allow their political differences to give rise to conflicts, disorder and violence.

He said “Your blood relationship should not be destroyed on the basis of your disagreements” and urged the parties to hold together as brothers and sisters.

He further called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to take all the necessary steps to ensure credible and peaceful elections by maintaining the principles of impartiality, transparency, fairness and a high level of proficiency.

The Chief Imam also asked the Ghana Police Service to maintain high standard of professionalism, fairness and impartiality.

“We live as Muslims and Christians in harmony. We are one people, we are one nation and we should let this election be about the policies and ideas and solutions that the respective candidates have for the country and that should be what we should be focusing on.”