Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama at the weekend advised Muslims to avoid various forms of lawlessness and indiscipline that could mar the upcoming general election.
He expressed optimism that Muslims could do this if Zongo communities remained watchful and guard against politicians who might hire them to cause troubles as the elections drew nearer.
Alhaji Mahama gave the advice when he addressed the 18th Annual National Ramadan Conference, underway in Sunyani on Saturday.
The three-day conference being attended by Muslims leaders and Chief Imams is on the theme: “Consolidating democracy and good governance- the contributions of Muslims.”
Former Vice President Mahama noted that respect for law and order as well as the dignity associated with the Islamic religion was gradually fading out because of lawlessness and indiscipline which had recently ate into some Zongo communities.
He emphasised that Muslims were the most impoverished people in the country and that if law and order, which he observed, were the principles of Muslim prayer were not heeded to, the Zongo communities would continue to wallow in abject poverty.
“As Muslim leaders we should not sit down and watch some selfish politicians to soil the image of Islam by using our youth to create confusion and violence in the name of partisan politics,” he said.
Alhaji Mahama reiterated the need for the Muslim leaders to contribute significantly towards the maintenance of peace and security by ensuring that they mobilise their energies and resources and work together to strengthen State institutions that facilitate good governance.
Alhaji Mahama took a swipe at the Muslim leaders attending the conference and charged them to ensure proper time management.
He observed that the lack of proper time management had been the bane of development especially in the Muslim communities.
He asked the conference to ensure to respect time for increased productivity.
Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, observed that, Ghana had an enviable record of free, fair, transparent and credible elections and was regarded internationally as a beacon of African democracy.
“Let us all endeavour not only to maintain that standard but to consolidate our achievements and raise the quality of our democracy to a higher pedestal”, he advised.
Alhaji Mumuni underscored the government’s recognition of the diverse roles played by Muslim leaders, individuals and organisations especially in building, maintaining and sustaining national peace.
“As our country has a remarkable record for religious tolerance... we must nourish this positive spirit”, he said.
He urged the Muslim community to continue to strive to maintain peace and harmony and contribute actively to forge peace.
In a speech read on his behalf, Sheikh Osman Sharabutu, National Chief Imam, observed that good governance was not achievable without peace and tranquillity, justice and equality before the laws of the country.
He entreated Muslims not to do anything that would derail the prevailing peace currently enjoyed by Ghanaians by ensuring that they accommodate each other’s view and opinions.
Sheikh Sharabutu said every Ghanaian had a constitutional right to belong to any political party of his or her choice and asked them to refrain from anything that would tarnish the image of Islam.
“It is not crime to belong to or vote for a party of your choice but it is a crime in Islam to fight one another because of selfish or parochial interests,” the National Chief Imam stated.
Sheikh Sharabutu cautioned political party leaders to conduct themselves in a way that would not breach public peace.
He said they should base their campaigns on issues that would give them votes than unnecessarily attacking one another.