Ghana has enough shock absorbers to withstand religio-ethnic tensions – Mahama

President John Mahama has expressed worry over recent ethnic and religious pronouncements which he said have the potential of tipping the country into an abyss.

In an address to mark the 58th Independence celebration, the president was quick to assure that the  country has enough shock absorbers to withstand the ethnic and religious tensions currently brewing.

The country in the past few weeks has witnessed some ethnic and religious undercurrents which is threatening the peace of the country.

What started as a peaceful demonstration in the Western Region to protest a decision to ask Muslim pupils to remove their hijabs before taking passport pictures has taken a serious turn to the worse.

Muslims allege their pupils are forced to attend Christian prayer sessions when they go to school, a conduct they say is against their religion and the Constitution of Ghana.

The Muslim caucus in Parliament has petitioned the Peace Council to resolve the matter. But even before the Council announces its solution, a Ghanaian has proceeded to the Supreme Court seeking interpretation on the laws regulating religious practices in schools and other public places.

A former finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo is also alleged to have made an ethnocentric comment which has gone viral in the media landscape.

A demonstration, dubbed  ”One people; One Ghana” has been held ostensibly to condemn the comments by the former Minister.

Even though no violent incident has been reported, comments in the media by some stakeholders on these ethnic and religious issues have tended to raise tensions in the country.

The president in his address at the Independence Square  Friday   commended organisers of the One People; One Ghana demonstration and charged everybody to work towards promoting peace in the country.

 ”Our diversity should be a source of strength and not weakness,” he said adding, “it [diversity]should not provide grounds to tear ourselves apart.”

He said whilst the country anticipates the ruling from the Supreme Court on the religious matter, the government has no aversion to the use of other channels to resolve the impasse.

He has therefore tasked the National Commission on Civic Education to liaise with the National Peace Council to calm the religious and ethnic waters as the Supreme Court sits to determine the case.

John Mahama declared that no amount of political power must plunge this country into ethnic and religious strife, assuring again that he will use all political channels available to him to resolve the current impasse

The Ghana leader said this country has every reason to celebrate its 58th anniversary despite the challenges it is facing.

“Assuming without admitting we have achieved nothing, the oasis of peace and tranquility,” is worthy of note and envy of many across the world, he noted.

“It is an asset we cannot allow anybody to take away,” he indicated.

The president prior to his addresse received the national salute from men and women of the Ghana Army, Airforce, Navy, Police.

There was also a short simulation by the security forces to demonstrate Ghana’s readiness to protects is sovereignty if attacked.

School children from selected schools in the Greater Accra region also took part in a short march pass.

The anniversary was attended by seasoned politicians and dignitaries including former presidents John Kufuor and John Rawlings, Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo Addo.

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