Accra, May 1, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama has said the repeated acts of intolerance during political campaigns, which was demonstrated during the recent by-election at Asawase proves that Ghanaians have not fully understood the nature of multiparty democracy. He has, therefore, urged all, particularly Muslims, to learn to accept their political rivals and their differences and co-exist peacefully.
Vice President Aliu Mahama was addressing a grand vigil of Muslims organized at the New Fadama Park on Saturday to commemorate the birth (Maulud) of the Prophet Mohammed said to be born in April in 570 AD. "Differences in political opinion and positions are inevitable since preferences vary," he noted. "However, differences should not be taken to the extent that we cannot accommodate our neighbour."
"We should agree to disagree, always remembering that in the sight of Allah we are one. That is the only way we can advance the different agenda we have for propelling the development of the only country we have."
The occasion, marked with prayers, music and Koran recitals, is used to reflect on the life, teachings and tenets of the founder of Islam to enable the followers to rededicate themselves to their religion.
Vice President Mahama advised Muslims to soberly reflect on the lifestyle, principles and values of the Prophet Mohammed, whom he described as an embodiment of peace, honesty, uprightness, patience, unity and love.
He said if they refocused on the right path charted by the Prophet Mohammed, they would not allow themselves to be recruited to engage in acts of political violence.
"With the right guidance, we should be able to discern political exploitation from genuine aspirations," he said. The Vice President also advised Muslims to settle their doctrinal differences amicably at focused meetings instead of engaging in acrimonious media arguments, which he noted often deepened their misunderstanding.
Sheikh I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, told his compatriots to always stand for and defend the truth. The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, commended the Government for the efforts being made to improve the well-being of Ghanaians through the rehabilitation of roads, provision of hospitals, schools, buses among others.
He called for the adoption of positive attitudes towards nation building to propel national development.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Mr Boniface Abubakari Saddique, Northern Regional Minister, some public officials and a delegation from Nigeria were at the vigil. "World Leaders Should Advocate for Global Peace" is the theme of the celebration. 01 May 05