President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to open the maiden Zongo for Peace and Development (ZOPAD) conference in Kumasi on January 8, 2018.
The conference is expected to be a convocation of Muslim Chiefs, Imams and key players in such communities as government seeks their opinions in it's developmental agenda.
Ahead of that, the Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, Dr. Mustapha Abdul Hamid is calling for tolerance as government rollsout more development projects in such communities as a way of bridging the development gap.
He said at a press launch in Kumasi Wednesday, January 2, that promotion of peace is a key ingredient to trigger development, urging his fellow Muslims especially those residing in the Zongos to cherish peace and eschew violence.
Dr Hamid said his ministry was set up by the President purposely to engender development and bridge the gap between the Inner Cities and Zongo communities.
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"To ensure this development, residents of the various Zongo communities must learn how to live in peace and harmony.
“We are, however, aware that development can only be built on a foundation of peace. So even as we seek to bring development to Zongo communities, we realise that it is also correct and indeed our duty to ensure that those developments sit securely on foundation of peace”, he said.
Dr Hamid said the Zongo communities were mostly made up of people with different cultures and religion which sometimes instead of promoting peace, creates misunderstanding and conflicts.
"These differences in the communities can help foster development in the communities if we learn how to cooperate and understand each other," he said.
The former Minister of Information said the ZOPAD conference aims among other things, to bring key players in the Zongo communities to weave these differences into beautiful tapestry of cooperation, understanding and development.
He said some values such as brotherliness were considered sacred in the Zongo communities but which are gradually being lost.
"To reverse the narrative and negative stereotype of Zongo communities as violent habitats, the residents must all come together to live in peace in order to attract developments," he said.
He said throughout Ghana’s history, the people of Zongos have been instrumental in contributing to the growth and prosperity of the country and this must be sustained.
"The Zongo communities have been able to produce some well-known prominent and responsible people for the country of which I am proud to be one.
“We believe that residents of Zongo communities today, owe it to these people of by-gone era, to relive the excellent qualities that have enabled these people to engrave their names, not only on monuments, but also in the hearts of men and women”, he said.