The 2016 Vice Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has been commended for advocating a fair representation of Muslims at the seat of government.
According to the Executive Director of the Islamic Centre for Virtue and Social Development (ICVISOD), Alhaji Mohammed Frimpong, such a move would ensure national cohesion and achieve greater participatory democracy in governance.
Early this month (May 2016) while attending a funeral in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region, Dr Bawumia met with some party faithful and was reported to have called for a balanced representation at the Flagstaff House, the seat of government, with regard to the two main religions in Ghana, Islam and Christianity.
This statement did not go down well with some members of the public. While some described it as an attempt to create religious tension in the country because there were other religions aside from Islam, others called for an immediate retraction and apology.
The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, is reported to have described the utterances from Dr Bawumia as unfortunate and should not be encouraged.
A Political Scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Kwesi Jonah, also described as unfortunate the religious statements by the economist.
The media at a press conference in Accra
However, Alhaji Frimpong said Dr Bawumia was merely stating his party’s position on pluralistic collaboration and that the suggestion was laudable.
Also, he said, the NPP had been consistent with its policy of achieving religious diversity in governance from the days of former President John Agyekum Kufuor and now the duo of Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia ticket.
Alhaji Frimpong said, “Our sister neighbouring countries, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, have a deliberate system of a pragmatic combination of Christian-Muslim leadership for their respective countries.”
He, therefore, urged all political parties, who had not yet named their flag bearers and running mates, to look into the example of the NPP in its enduring vision of productive and peaceful inter-faith cohabitation.