Veep calls for neutrality of religious leaders in their sermons and utterances

The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has urged religious leaders to be neutral and non-partisan in their sermons and utterances during this year’s presidential and parliamentary election.

He said it was only when the political leaders remained non-partisan that they could play the role of independent arbitors in case of political disputes.

He again charged the youth in Muslim communities not to allow themselves to be recruited by politicians as political thugs to visit mayhem on their perceived political opponents.

Mr Mahama made the call Thursday at the opening of the 80th annual national convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission of Ghana at Gomoa Pomadze in the Central Region.

The three-day convention is on the theme: “Ensuring Free, Fair and Transparent Elections – The Role of Religion”.

The convention is to provide the platform for more than 5,000 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission of Ghana to deliberate on their past activities and strategise for the future.

The Catholic Achbishop of Accra, Most Rev Charles Palmer-Buckle, Sheikh Mahmoud Gedel, a representative of the National Chief Imam, the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, were some of the dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony.

The event, which was marked by a number of activities including recitation of portions of the Holy Qur’an, Arabic poems and praise songs, was chaired by a former Chairman of the NDC, Alhaji Issifu Ali.

The Vice-President said the job of political leaders was cut out for them since they could be partisan in their utterances as they mainly addressed their members.

However, he said, “with the religious leaders their congregation is a mixture of members of all the political parties”.

Therefore, he said, “religious leaders should be careful so that their message is not misinterpreted”, and indicated that their image would be enhanced if they exhibited neutrality in their utterances.

Mr Mahama asked religious leaders to be vigilant and alert to correct any wrongs during the election instead of waiting for them to get out of hand before reacting.

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