Liberate Ghanaian Muslims From The Hajj Board

Sun, 31 Dec 2006 Source: Salam, Gilbert

...To Get Rid Of Their Habitual Failures.

The responsibility of a board appointed, elected or volunteered is to make sure that the organization is managed properly on behalf of its stakeholders.

Unfortunately, this principle does not hold for the current Hajj Board. Ghana Hajj Board habitually fails its membership, use the lowest standards to measure its performance and the Board fails miserably. What a shame. When will this annual embarrassment to the Muslim community stop? When will the annual holding hostage of innocent Muslims whose only wish is to fulfill one of the tenets in Islam stop? When will fleecing poor and innocent Muslims stop?

The Ghanaian Muslim Community can not, and should not continue to bury its head in the sand. Let the debacle of this year’s Hajj be the last. The failure started and ended in the office of the Hajj Board. No need to look for escape goats outside the Community. This time let the solutions come from within the community.

The best solution is to make public the process of selecting Board members to the community. Any board selecting process adopted should and must include a method of holding board members accountable. It would help if the Community would select or elect impeccable and experience individuals with organizational skills.

Members of the current Hajj Board are either incompetent or corrupt. This is even a mild description of the Board. There is no excuse that the Board can use to explain away its failure. The Muslims who intended in making the pilgrim to Mecca did not ask for anything more than what the Board was constituted for: accept airfares, arrange for charter flights and visas. If this is too huge a responsibility for the Board to manage, then the Ghanaian Muslim Community has a problem. The Board is derived from the Ghanaian Muslim Community. It does not matter how individuals got their positions on the Board. Unfortunately, they are Muslims and representatives of the Muslim Community. If the Community accepts this premise then it can work to stop this nonsense. The Board’s failure has not and would not affect communities outside the Muslim Community.

These are some suggestions that would help the new board operate efficiently and be accountable to the Muslim Community. It is simple, transparent and applicable.

• Send a report of the last Hajj to every mosque in the country; include suggested changes for the next Hajj.

• Publish the number allowed for the next Hajj in every mosque and newspapers in the country.

• The board should limit the number to its administrative capabilities. It should not matter even if the number is lower than what is allowed by Mecca (host country) for that year’s Hajj.

• Ghana should be divided into regions by the Hajj board, not necessary following existing regional boundaries, but be devised by the board for its administrative purposes.

• The figure set for the next Hajj should be divided among the devised regions.

• The board should NOT interfere in regional procedures for selecting pilgrims. Regions are allowed to set up Selection Committees they see fit to do their selections, and be held accountable by regional stakeholders.

• The board should establish a cut off date when the regions are to submit names of the selected pilgrims, and be firm about it. This would give the board time to past on unfilled slots to regions who needs them.

• All the above should be completed in the 8th month after the last Hajj, or two months before the next Hajj. This would give the Board a precise number of pilgrims and time to work on visas, charter flights and accommodation.

• A refundable two day hotel stay fee should be tag onto any person making the Hajj and coming from outside Accra.

When ever there is will there is always a way of putting thoughts into action. The Board should start by refunding every cedi accepted from Muslims who could not fulfill the Hajj this year. It would be an honor for the current Board to resign so that a new Board can be selected or elected. The blame game would not solve the annual Hajj crisis. The current Board is a failure plain and simple. The disappointed pilgrims would be consol if steps are taken to install a responsible Hajj Board.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Salam, Gilbert