President John Mahama has said there are strong ties between the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Muslim community in Ghana which dates back decades.
“NDC and the Zongo community have strong ties. And it starts from the days of former President Rawlings’ government. He realised there was little recognition for the Muslim religious calendar and introduced two holidays to commemorate Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha,” Mr Mahama said when he addressed supporters of the NDC at Kokompe near Takoradi as part of his campaign in the Western Region.
“He established the Islamic Education Unit to guarantee strict Moslem education. When late President Mills assumed office in 2009, hajj pilgrims used to sleep on the tarmac at Kotoka International Airport awaiting their flights. The bad condition there made them susceptible to malaria and communicable diseases that affected them when they arrived for the hajj. So we quickly improved that by establishing the Hajj Village.
“I will be in Tamale on Friday (today). For the first time in history, the first batch of pilgrims will fly directly from Tamale to Jeddah. I will be in Tamale to commission that. It tells you about our commitment to help the Zongo community and the wellbeing of all Ghanaians.”
Touching on investments made by his government, Mr Mahama said: “In Sekondi Takoradi, we are expanding the port and after completion, it will give 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. Seventy-five kilometres of road in Sekondi-Takoradi are undergoing asphalt overlay. We have refurbished the Kojokrom Train Station and rail lines and that will be extended to Awaso, through Dunkwa to Kumasi.
“We have given the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority [the greenlight] to source funding for that project. We are also collaborating with a private investor to establish a ceramic tile factory in Takoradi. The new ceramic factory will produce 40 million square feet of tiles a year and this can meet the demand for floor, wall, and bathroom tiles nationwide.
“When they were in office, they chose to sell slippers…and now they claim we don’t eat the schools we are building, the hospitals, the roads, and the water we are providing. But we have a vision to develop Ghana to ensure our generation and those yet to be born have better opportunities.”