Timely Intervention By Bawumia

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

We wish to commend the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for his prompt response to a creeping threat to peace in the Zongo communities across the country especially Accra and Kumasi.

A story in our edition of yesterday regarding the hosting of the National Council of Zongo Chiefs by the Vice President was prompted by the escalation of the tension between two groups within the Islamic setting in the country.

The son of the late popular Islamic clergy from Prang, Malam Abdullahi Maikano, reportedly challenged the authority of the National Chief Imam and incurred the wrath of the supporters of the cleric.

We were at our wits end as to why somebody would want to disturb the country’s peace at this time when the subject of development is what should be the priority for us all as citizens of this country.

There have been clashes between some youth from both factions of the Tijaniyya sect in some parts of the country in the past although these have hardly made it to the media.

It is good the Vice President has tasked the National Council of Zongo Chiefs to wade into the threat with a view to restoring lasting peace.

We would like to implore the chiefs to be in constant touch with the various clergies in their various areas and to take interest in the contents of their sermons.

The immediate cause of the trouble a few days ago had to do with the content of the sermon by the clergyman from Prang and his apparent attack on the authority of the National Chief Imam; something which should be stemmed.

The issue is as dicey as it is dangerous. With issues bordering on attacks of leaders of faiths, matters can get out of hand when the security agents do not get things right.

The various District Security Councils must liaise with the Zongo chiefs and the imams as this is a sure way of monitoring developments which could threaten public peace.

Information reaching us suggests that a couple of days ago, some Muslim youth burnt tyres to send a message to another group in the Sabon Zongo area of Accra: a clear example of what could happen if these young persons are not stopped and now.

In a social media age, policing or even security management has become even more challenging. It therefore behooves divisional and district commanders to be watchful of youth activities especially, within the Muslim communities. Were it possible, monitoring postings on social media could be productive. Some of the foul languages are posted on social media.

We think that the Vice President should identify influential personalities within the Zongo community and task such persons to establish détente among the disagreeing factions.  The absence of clashes does not mean there is peace.

The Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) has a greater role to play in the matter; it must monitor and feed the Vice President with credible information lest we are taken unawares.

Under the circumstances, those identified as the sources of trouble should be apprehended and dealt with because fallouts of a security breach in the Zongo communities especially, in Accra, could be bloody and even fatal.