Ghanaians affirm confidence in ethnic, religious tolerance

General News of Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Dr Ransford Gyampoh

Majority of Ghanaians have affirmed confidence in the high level of tolerance between the various ethnic and religious groups in Ghana. The affirmation formed part of the results of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) socio-economic and governance survey of 1,200 households across the 10 regions of the country.

Indeed, the survey report said one of the many critical factors that had contributed to Ghana’s drive towards democratic maturity and sustenance was religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

In line with its goal of promoting good public policies, the IEA conducts periodic surveys on public perception and assessment of socio-economic and governance conditions in the country. The purpose of these surveys is to solicit and provide information on Ghanaians’ perceptions on a whole range of subjects, including economic and living conditions; public safety and security; media freedom and abuse; discrimination and relations between ethnic groups; factors which influence elections; trust in institutions; important problems confronting the country; government performance; corruption; bribery; and access to public services.

The survey was conducted in all the 10 regions of Ghana, with persons aged 18 and above as the target population.

A stratified design that employs sampling with probability proportional to size (PPS) was adopted. Stratification was based on the regions of Ghana, and selected households and individuals for the survey were randomly sampled from pre-selected primary sampling units (PSU’s).

A total sample of 1,200 households was selected to allow for up to 20% non-response.

“On the religious front, about 84 per cent of respondents are of the view that relations between the different religious groups are either very good or good. Only 6.5 per cent indicated that the relations are bad,” the report said.

Reading out the report of the survey to the press in Accra, a Senior Fellow at the IEA, Dr Ransford Gyampoh, said the positive indicator on religious and ethnic tolerance was “good news” and one that the country needed to “build on”.

It was remarkable, he said, that “the same perception cuts across the regions, locality of residence, educational level and ethnic groups.” The relations between ethnic groups in Ghana, the report said, were generally good.

“Approximately 80 percent of the respondents indicated that the ethnic groups in the country relate peacefully. Only one per cent (one in hundred persons) feels that relations are bad. This is good for long-term social cohesion,” it said.

However, the report indicated that there was a general perception that one’s ethnic background or gender affected his or her chances of getting government job, contract, public housing, loans from government banks or even admission to education institutions and security services.

Generally, it said about 50 per cent of respondents thought that one’s ethnic background influenced one’s chances of getting a job in government.

“The perception is higher among urban dwellers (57.3 per cent) than rural dwellers (37.6 per cent). The regional perception varies from 33.1 per cent in the Volta Region to as high as 61 per cent in the Western Region,” the report said.

On the whole, it was observed that the heterogeneous nature of urban and peri-urban centres predisposed them to ethnic cosmopolitanism.