President John Dramani Mahama blew hot and cold air on the sanctity of the state in two messages to the Muslim community in connection with the celebration of Eid ul Fitr, marking the end of 30 days of fasting by Muslims throughout the world.
On Wednesday, the Head of State presented assorted food items to Dr. Nuhu Sharabutu, Chief Imam of Ghana, at his residence at Fadama, a suburb of Accra, and announced that he won the presidential elections cleanly, and that the Supreme Court would affirm so in its judgement scheduled for the end of the month.
At the Independence Square in Accra, where he was invited as Guest of Honour at prayers to end the 30-day fasting period, President Mahama asked Ghanaians to reflect on the love for each other enshrined in the concept of the Eid ul Fitr, and cherish the roles of Ghanaians as nationals with one destiny.
The Presidential declaration at Fadama obviously did not go well with some Ghanaians who felt that Mr. Mahama’s statement could be prejudicial and a recipe for chaos, should the President be declared loser of the election by the Supreme Court.
In Accra, a Senior Lecturer in Law at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Mr. Kofi Abotsi, said the President’s pronouncement could be contemptuous of the Supreme Court.
In an interview with City FM in Accra, Mr. Abotsi said: “The President is not an average citizen. One could have expected that everyone would exercise some restraint, and therefore, avoid making direct comments that may be tapped into by (bad) elements in society.”
At the Independence Square in Accra yesterday, President Mahama said: “As we are all aware, this day is special to Muslims worldwide, who, in paying homage to the Almighty, have sacrificed all material needs throughout the holy month of Ramadan. It is also a period during which we pray for Allah’s forgiveness, even as we forgive others; a period of piety, abstinence, self-discipline, constant prayer, and charity.”
“It is an opportunity to show goodwill to our fellow men and women. The day must be of extra significance to us in Ghana, especially at a time when extreme partisanship appears to be tearing us apart,” President Mahama admonished.
He asked the Muslim community to use the day to reflect on their citizenship of one nation with a common destiny. “Allah put us all here for a purpose. We and our children and great grand-children will continue to live here till God’s kingdom comes. We must learn to live and work together to make Ghana, a country that we can all be proud off.”
He veered off into the events at the Supreme Court saying: “We all are enjoined by the Supreme law of the land to respect and accept it as the final arbiter in any litigation. I stood in front of my countrymen and took an oath on this very ground to respect the Constitution, or else suffer the penalty for it. My attitude to the verdict is, therefore, without doubt.”
“I wish to reiterate the call I made last year on this same occasion to the various religious faiths to maintain the prevailing religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence that happily exists between us.”
He gave thanks to Allah for preserving for the peace in the country. “We have, and will constantly intercede with him to allow us to continue to enjoy this harmonious co-existence. I wish to also call on our youth, especially our Muslim and northern youth, not to allow themselves to be influenced by persons to fight their battles for them,” the President asserted.
“We have a lot to be grateful for in Ghana. While we have had some difficulties with the economy, and energy crisis in the early part of the year, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mr. Mahama urged all intended pilgrims to cooperate with the Hajj authority, and make all necessary payments as early as possible, to ensure an incident-free pilgrimage this year.
He announced that Ghana’s quota for this year had been reduced from 6,700 to 5,400. “This reduction in quota affects all countries in the world as a result of some engineering works taking place in the Holy City of Mecca,” he stated.