Kamis, 10 Mei 2012


Story & Picture: Zainabu Issah

THREE hundred and sixty people from Zongo communities are to be trained as observers during the December 2012 general election.

The Danish Embassy in Accra signed an agreement with the Islamic Peace and Security Council (IPASEC) yesterday to provide funding for the training programme.

The programme, expected to benefit 220 males and 140 females, is intended to help create awareness in Zongo communities of the need to avoid all forms of violence and fraudulent election practices.
It is also aimed at ensuring that Zongo communities have confidence in the electoral process and accept the winner at the end of the elections.

The Danish support follows the launch of IPASEC’s new project, “ Ensuring violence free 2012 elections in Zongo communities in Greater Accra”, which is being spearheaded by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osumanu Nuhu Sharebutu.

Signing the agreement, the Danish Ambassador in Ghana, Mr Carsten Nilaus Pedersen, said he was optimistic that dialogue, visits and exchanges between Danes and Ghanaians, Christians and Muslims would strengthen insights and understanding of each other.

He said such frequent interaction and engagement would help eliminate fear and overcome challenges deriving from extremism and intolerance, both religious and secular.

“Dialogue will help us explore what unites us and what we have in common, what binds us together as humans rather than what divides us,” he said.

He, however, said the grass-roots approach of working directly with people to prevent violence during elections was one which was worthy of support.

The National Chief Imam and Chairman of IPASEC, Sheikh Dr Sharebutu, in his remarks, thanked the embassy for recognising the need to support the peace campaign in Ghana.

He said the Muslim and Zongo communities in the country were faced with numerous socio-economic problems that prevented them from developing their talents as useful citizens and also made it impossible for them to actualise their dreams, aspirations and full potential as future leaders.

“Hence certain political figures and their sponsors are known to take advantage of the Zongo youth and use them to organise support, cause unrest or steal ballot boxes in the interest of the financiers,” he explained.

Additionally, he said Ghanaian Muslims believed in peace building that required a collaborative effort to achieve, hence the need for every patriotic citizen to ensure the maintenance of peace before, during and after the elections.

Sheikh Sharebutu said the funding would go a long way to bring about peace within the Muslim communities in Ghana during election periods.
Present at the signing ceremony were representatives from the Council of Muslim Chiefs, the National
Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Electoral Commission and some heads of Muslim youth groups in Accra.

 Sheikh Dr Sharebutu (middle) signing the agreement form. Looking on are the Danish Ambassador, Mr Carsten Nilaus Pedersen (left), and the Deputy Head of Mission of DANIDA, Mr Jan Pirouz Poulsen.

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