Editorial: 2024 elections should be devoid of religious bigotry

The Daily Graphic reported yesterday that the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has cautioned the electorate and Ghanaians in general against putting religion at the centre of the 2024 General Elections by touching on the religious identities of the flagbearers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Such a situation, the Council explained, if allowed to fester, it would create tension and conflict and have dire consequences on the democratic credentials, peace and stability of the country. “Matters of faith and belief are matters of identity. The two flag bearers of the two main political parties do not represent religious identities and they are not presenting to us religious ideologies.

“They did not win their flagbearership positions based on their religious ideologies; they won based on their personalities and the message they carry,” the paper quoted the Chairman of the CCG, Rt. Rev. Dr. Hilliard Dogbe, as saying.

The Chronicle commends Rev. Dogbe for making such a strong public statement. As he pointed out, the two dominant parties – NPP and NDC – did not elect their flagbearers – Messrs Mahamudu Bawumia and John Dramani Mahama – on the basis of their religious faith.

Bawumia or Mahama as president cannot impose their religious beliefs on anybody. As a matter of fact, the 1992 Constitution does not even allow that. It will, therefore, be preposterous for any of these political parties or their followers to think that they can play religious cards to win the election.

Unfortunately, that is the thinking of some of them, who have even started ‘plying their trade.’ The Chronicle, however, believes that Ghanaians are discerning and would not fall for this dangerous religious trap. But, that does not also mean that we should sit idle, thinking that nothing bad can happen.

This is why The Chronicle is happy with the strong statement that has been made by the Christian Council. But whilst commending Dr. Dogbe and his group, we do not think making such a strong statement in the media alone is enough. They need to educate their congregations during church services to reject any politician who will try to play the religious card in the 2024 elections.

As the late Lucky Dube stated in one of his songs – different colours, one people – we must also see ourselves as Christians and Muslims, but with a common goal for our Mother Ghana. Most of the African countries are on fire because of religious bigotry. Fortunately for us, our religious leaders, since the days of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, have managed to avoid such a situation from happening in Ghana.

Also, since 1992, when this current national constitution came into being, every elected president has ensured religious harmony. Was it not exciting when the National Chief Imam visited one of the Catholic Churches during his 100th birthday celebration? The Christians leaders also do visit the mosque during special occasions.

This is a great feat we must jealously protect, instead of trying to fan religious fundamentalism in the name of politics. This is a dangerous path we must always avoid if we are to ensure constant peace in this country.


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