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In the political battles between the NDC and NPP, Muslims are pawns.


In previous commentaries, I have railed against a group of individuals I described as devious for their erroneous belief that our country is their private property and therefore they are entitled to say whatever suits their whims and pleases their political paymasters. The provocateurs, of course, come from the two major political parties, the NDC and the NPP.

Each passing day, surrogates and spokespersons for the two Presidential candidates, Mr. John Mahama and Mr. Akuffo Addo, say things that are not only outrageous, but also intensely provocative.

Not surprisingly, the surrogates latch on to issues that are neither relevant nor resonate with the hopes and aspirations of a vast number of Ghanaians. But, sadly, in the final analysis, they only succeed in pitting Ghanaians against one another, further poisoning the political well.

In their quest to court Ghanaians and garner votes at all cost, these surrogates and spokespersons, display no civility at all in their utterances, that are by and large, deliberate, calculated and designed to please some sections of the population. Oftentimes, the utterances backfire and end up portraying the parties as desperate and willing to do just about anything to gain power.

It is no secret that the NDC and the NPP are dragging religion into the political discourse, a move our national constitution explicitly forbids. That the parties would blatantly flout this provision is frightening and goes to confirm the point I raised earlier that the parties are desperate.

I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the two parties are clearly using Muslims as pawns in their political battles. If you have doubts about my assertion, I urge you to sample recent speeches by Alhaji Collins Dauda, minister for Local government and Rural Development, and Mr. Mustapha Hamid, a spokesperson for Akuffo Addo and you will get the gist of what I am saying.

There are two facts that ought to be made abundantly clear: 1)Muslims are a large and influential voting bloc in the country; and 2)the two political parties are sparing no effort to win their votes.

But to win the heart and soul of the Muslim community, political parties should appeal to the community’s sense of fairness, decency and justice.

However, it is the height of political irresponsibility, and pandering at its ugliest to stoke fear and hatred among Muslims and exploit their perceived differences; this political strategy, to all intents and purposes, is dangerous, divisive and counterproductive.

Mr. Dauda reportedly appealed to Muslims not to vote for the opposition NPP, because of is past maltreatment of the group, and in a similar move, Mr. Hamid urged Muslims to rally behind Mr. Addo to show their appreciation for the consistent faith he has shown in choosing Dr. Bawumia, a Muslim, as a running mate, and for all good the NPP has done for the community.

Of course, I am profoundly disheartened by the statements of both Mr Dauda and Mr Hamid. They are seasoned politicians who know the rules of the game. And for them to employ these ugly tactics is lamentable.

Now it is absolutely important that we are clear-eyed about some of the things the two men said. I don’t think Muslims in Zongos spread around the country are marginalized as Mr Dauda would have us believe, though it must be said that more could be done to improve their lot with economic empowerment and jobs.

And to refute Mr Hamid’s assertion that Mr Akuffo Addo on the three occasions that he chose Dr Bawumia as his running mate did so to balance the ticket strictly on a religious basis, it is important to stress that Bawumia was picked largely based on his competence and ability, and less on his religion.

From all indications, both parties are taking the Muslim vote for granted. Muslims are not a monolithic group, they don’t tow the same political line.

Muslims, as a matter of fact, have divergent political, economic and social perspectives, and it is only proper that our politicians recognize these views and not exploit them to further their political agendas.


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