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Come again Dr Bawumia: Ghana needs a patriotic president

Bawumia In Tamale 2015 Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

Tue, 3 May 2016 Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo

Competence and not Sentiments -Religion or ethnicity does not determine good leadership -The election is about the future of the country

Ghanaians needs a president and vice president who are patriots and nationalistic; and who will rise above ethnic, religious and regional interests. How the next president and vice president worship God should not influence your vote.

Your vote is not for a religion but for better governance and the development of the country. Someone the people trusts "absolutely, completely.'' Not for private business purpose, or religion but for the interest of all Ghanaians.

It comes to choosing a great mate, whether in politics or business, the essentials extend well beyond charisma, connections and political leverage. The key foundational elements are trust, loyalty and complementary skills and qualities. Not religion.

The 2016 election should be about good governance and development, not religion and ethnicity. Ghanaians must therefore support a presidential candidate or presidential ticket that will provide competent leadership, irrespective of their religious and ethnic affiliations, to improve their life and unite the country.

I also want Dr Bawumia to know that none of the two dominant religions has a monopoly of political leaders who are bad or good. Since independence in 1957, both Christianity and Islam have had their share of their adherents who were bad or good Heads of State. We should focus on our common humanity and citizenship rather than religion and ethnicity.

Like President Mahama is doing Good leadership is imperative now more than ever if the country is to progress; to transform the economy, to create jobs for its teeming youth, establish a strong manufacturing base, process and export finished products; reduce poverty, inequality and unemployment; improve and establish quality health and education systems; improve our infrastructure – roads, water and electricity. Improving power supply and addressing the insecurity.

These are the issues that should determine who you vote for in the next election. No one religion has a monopoly of people with good leadership attributes to tackle these challenges. There are Muslims and Christians, and even atheists that have the ability to address these issues. To demonize one religion or ethnic group is a disservice to the country and its people. The 2016 presidential elections demand that the electorate rise above ethnicity and religion and vote for the best candidate and ticket.

In the 2016 elections, Ghanaians would have to make hard choices about the next president because their future and that of the country depend on it. As we approach the elections, especially the presidential election, some members of the political elite wants to make religion the dominant issue instead of focusing on the governance and development challenges facing the country.

Dr Bawumaia must come again on his statement that "Another major issue that i want to bring to the attention of the people and to yourselves, is that, if you look at the flagstaff house today, it does not represent the people of Ghana in terms of religion, in this country, we are living peacefully and nicely, Muslims and Christians, so we believed in the NPP that, Muslims and the Christians should work together, and that is why whenever we pick a flag bearer as a Christian, we pick Muslim as a vice, and when we come and take a Muslim as a president, we will take a Christian as a vice. So if Insha Allah, Nana Akufu Addo becomes president, he will swear with the bible and enter the flagstaff house and i will with the Al-Quran and enter the flagstaff house. So when we combine the Quran and the Bible, Ghana will be the major beneficiary, it will be the blessings of God will be on Ghana if we have the two religions in the castle."- Bawumia

The point is that religion or ethnicity does not determine good leadership – a presidential ticket with people with the same or different religions can be good or bad leaders. Therefore in the 2016, the religious background of a presidential candidate and the running mate should not be the basis of how people should vote.

While the secularity and unity of Ghana matter, the religious and ethnic backgrounds of a presidential candidate and his running mate do not matter. In next year's election, Ghanaians do not need a Christian or Muslim president, . They do not need a religious and ethnic president, but Ghanaians need a president and vice president who are patriots and nationalistic; and who will rise above ethnic, religious and regional interests.

Ghanaians need a president and vice president who are incorruptible and those who will lead the fight against corruption. In the next election, Ghana does not need a “religious and tribal” president but one that is godly, humane, competent, honest and incorruptible.

Our people need a president that will be fair to all Ghanaians irrespective of his/her religious background. Ghanaians need a president that will be able to protect their lives and property; a president that will put the welfare of our people first. Our people need a president that will not abdicate his responsible but one that will stand with them in critical moments.

In their efforts to stop such candidates, their religion and the part of the country they come from are being demonized. They have consequently introduced the religious backgrounds of the presidential tickets of the two main political parties, the NDC and NPP , as an issue. This has manifested in the discourse of a Christian-Christian ticket. While they argue for a balance of the two dominant religions in the presidential tickets, they are silent on the need for gender balance in the tickets. These campaigns further divide rather than unite our people.

Since independence the political class has exploited religion and ethnicity to further their interests – those that have stolen our money do not belong to one religion.

The little progress in the country is equally attributable to Heads of States/Presidents who happened to be either Christians or Muslims. But they did not do so in furtherance of their religion but in line with their oaths of office to work for Ghana’s’ progress and prosperity.

These are the issues that should determine how we vote in the next election, not religion or ethnicity. We must all care about the competency and patriotism of the next president and vice president, not their religious and ethnic backgrounds!

In the 2016 elections, the electorate should vote for a presidential ticket that will improve our healthcare system; our education sector – one that will invest in quality education at primary, secondary and tertiary level and would work vigorously.

As citizens, our votes would determine our future – don't vote your fear, vote for your dreams, hope and future, irrespective of the religious and ethnic background of the presidential candidate and his running mate. Ghanaians have to vote for a presidential ticket, who as president and vice president will unite rather than divide the country on the basis of ethnicity and religion.

Ghanaians must reject and ignore those who want to make the elections an ethnic or religious affair, instead of focusing on the governance and development challenges facing the country.

This is diversionary. Each and every Ghanaian has to make informed choices and reject this divisiveness and ember of disunity that is being fostered by some among us.

Consider the following: imagine that you are critically ill and required an organ transplant to survive and the only organ donor that matches you is from a different religion, will you reject the organ? Will you stop a doctor and her team from saving your life because they are not from the same religion as you? The next presidential election is about life-saving - your life, your family's, your friends', the country's! Vote for a presidential candidate and ticket that will best protect and promote the future of your children!

A competent and patriotic president and vice president are what the country need now more than ever. This should determine how we vote in the next election and Ghanaians must support the presidential ticket that will present competent leadership.

Columnist: Maxwell Okamafo Addo