NCCE to promote religious tolerance in 2024 election
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is to roll out a comprehensive public education programme on religious tolerance focusing on the youth as the nation prepares for the 2024 election.
This, the NCCE said, would help prevent the situation where young vulnerable people would be swayed and divided along religious lines by inflammatory comments and hate speeches from some politicians who are putting religion at the centre of the forthcoming election.
The Chairperson of the NCCE, Kathleen Addy, who made this known in Accra last Tuesday, emphasised that “we are going to take the education around religious tolerance very serious this political season and we are going to call out the politicians who choose to use religion as a basis for their campaign”.
She made the remark in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting with a delegation from the Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion and Faith Leaders from the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Malawi.
The meeting was facilitated by the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), a not-for-profit organisation, under its Freedom of Religion or Belief Leadership Network (FOBLN) project.
Under the project, Parliamentary Caucuses on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FORB) have been launched in the three visiting countries with Ghana being the latest to launch its FORB.
The delegation were made up of the Executive Member of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, Sheikh Muhamad Jaitih; General Secretary of Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone, Rev. Dr Usman Jesse Fornah; a religious leader from the Gambia, Very Rev. James Cole, and the Chairperson of FORB Caucus National Assembly of the Gambia, Amadou Camara.
The rest were Minority Leader in the Sierra Leonean Parliament, Abdul Kargbo; Deputy Majority Leader of the Gambian Parliament, Abdoulie Ceesay; the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Dowa West Constituency in Malawi, Dr Ephraim Abel Kayembe, and the MP for Kono Constituency in Sierra Leone, Musa Fofanah.
Ms Addy said there was a new phenomenon that the country hadn’t experienced in the political landscape which was to have two flag bearers from the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress with different religious affiliations.
She said it was unfortunate that “already we have seen some politicians attempt to divide people on the basis of religion and we at NCCE are committed to ensure that those attempts to divide the people do not happen in the run-up to the 2024 election.”
“Religious tolerance is a very key pillar in our work.
We have seen how religious divide has been so costly in terms of loss of lives and properties in other countries and we don't want our country to go down that road as we are also in the political season,” she stressed.
The Chairperson urged Ghanaians to reject those politicians who would use this political season to divide the citizenry particularly the vulnerable ones such as the youth.
She said as a country, Christians and Muslims had lived together peacefully by respecting each other’s religion for many years.
Rev. Dr Fornah, for his part, commended the country for maintaining a high level of religious tolerance over the years, saying it was a similar situation that was existing in Sierra Leone although it was torn apart by civil war.