Executive Director of Development Challenge, a research policy think tank, Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim has downplayed 2016 flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party’s pledge to develop the various Zongo communities if elected president.
According to Alhaji Haruna, if Nana Akufo-Addo has Muslims and Zongos at heart, why did he and his colleague in the NPP kicking against a decision by the Jerry Rawlings’ NDC administration to declare the two major Muslim festivals as public holidays?
Reacting to Nana Akufo-Addo’s statement at last weekend National Nasara conference in Kumasi, Alhaji Haruna, in an exclusive interview with The aL-hAJJ, could not fathom why a man who despises Muslims to the extent of rallying his party to protest the passage of the bill to make Edi il-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha celebrations public holidays, will turn around to say he has Muslims at heart.
According to him, but for Nana Akufo-Addo seeking support of the Muslim community to consolidate his votes in pursuit of his childhood dreams of becoming president, he would never have had anything to do with Muslims.
“This is a man who calls himself “Zongo boy” yet he was against a decision by the Rawlings government to make our cherish festivals public holidays. This is a man who can publicly say during his early years he had Muslims ladies as girlfriends yet none of them were worthy to be his wife. This is a man who claims to love Muslims and wants to develop our community yet he is bold to say ‘yen-akanfo’, a clearly xenophobic statement… Even when his close allies like Ursula Owusu insulted Muslims and northerners, he did not condemn her,” Alhaji Haruna stated.
The failed NDC Parliamentary Candidate aspirant in the Ayawaso East constituency, noted that the Zongos are now awake and will not fall to Nana Akufo-Addo’s gimmick, adding that “we have not forgotten how his father as President with Dr Busia as then Prime Minister introduced the Aliens Compliance Act to drive away our forebears that led to the untimely death of majority of them, mostly pregnant women and children.”
Speaking at the first National Nasara conference of the party last weekend, Nana Akufo-Addo recounted the painful ordeal his forebears put Muslims through when he described the Aliens Compliance Act introduced by the Busia government as “unfortunate”
He said despite UP elements’ close ties with Muslims to kick out the Nkrumah government, the introduction of the Act to drive away Muslims made the party, now NPP, “lost the sympathies of the Zongo communities.”
“It is absolutely essential that we find the means to restore those sympathies, and re-establish the NPP as the partner of choice for the Zongo communities of Ghana. I am fully committed to that, and that is why I am happy to be at this conference,” Akufo Addo stated.
Assuring that he will not repeat the “sins” of his father, Edward Akufo-Addo, when elected, “let me reiterate, to the millions resident Zongo communities who are desirous of a change in their circumstances, but remain somewhat skeptical about voting for the NPP, that it will not be possible to reintroduce the Aliens’ Compliance Act of 1969.”
He added that when he is elected President, a Special Zongo Development Fund will be established to take care of the infrastructural needs of the various Zongo communities.
However, Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim said “we will never forget what the NPP and their forebears did to our ancestors. They made us feel like second class citizen. Even under Kufuor when we had a Muslim and Zongo man as vice president, look at how Hajj was organized and compare it to today under John Mahama. Muslims will never turn their back at the NDC.”
“If you visit the Zongos now, a lot of infrastructural projects are on-going. Muslims under NDC government don’t feel marginalized or treated as second class citizens. The composition of government and even the national executive setup of the NDC have all religious sects and, Muslims are adequately represented. If Nana Akufo-Addo is serious about his love for Muslims, what did he do when Chairman Mahama Adams and Sadiq were killed?” Alhaji Haruna quizzed.