Don’t Allow Others To Use You As Party Thugs Prez Appeals To Muslim Youth
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As the nation inches closer to the November general election, in which the stakes are very high, President John Dramani Mahama yesterday used the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr to advise Muslim youth not to allow themselves to be used as political-party thugs to foment trouble in the run-up to the elections.

On a day that Muslims, both old and young, gathered in their thousands at the Black Star Square in Accra to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, the President, who was the guest of honour, said the practice of politicians taking to the zongos to recruit Muslim youth to perpetrate trouble during elections must cease forthwith.

“I mean our youth are not political thugs. If you want people to fight, go to Burma Camp. Our youth are not soldiers; they are young boys and girls who are looking for peaceful living,” he said.

Eid-ul-Fitr, which means festival of breaking the fast, marks the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, a period during which Muslims abstain from consuming liquids, food, as well as smoking and partaking in sexual activity, from sunrise to sunset.

The end of the holy month was marked with one of the biggest gatherings of Muslims in the capital in recent times.

They said special prayers for the President and the peace of the nation.

No fears
President Mahama stated that typical of election years, some amount of fear and panic might be sweeping through the populace this year.

But he advised everybody to be calm, as he was optimistic that this year’s elections would be trouble-free.

“I don’t believe there will be any trouble this year. We have voted six times successfully already. This is the seventh time and I believe that we are going to vote in peace and whoever will emerge as President will do so through a transparent and fair process,” he said.

Even as he gave assurance of peaceful polls, the President said there was the need for the Electoral Commission (EC) to be given the peace of mind to do its work.
He said the EC had demonstrated tremendous impartiality in its work and that Ghanaians would be the better for it if the commission was given the peace of mind to work.

“Indeed, our EC is one of the best commissions in the whole world and we have confidence in it to conduct fair elections,” he said.

Describing Islam as a peaceful religion, the President expressed regret that some extremists tended to equate the religion to violence.

“The propaganda of the terrorists is so strong,” he said, explaining that they used social media and other forms of technological advancement to brainwash and recruit young people into terrorist groups.

“It is not true. There is no link between terrorism and Islam,” he stressed.

He urged parents to take interest in the behaviour of their children to prevent the recruitment of children into terrorist groups.

Education drive
President Mahama said it was to ensure a good future for the youth that the government placed so much emphasis on education.

Ghana, he said, had achieved 80 per cent youth literacy and the country had projected to hit 100 per cent literacy rate in the next decade.

To achieve that target, he said, the Ministry of Education had targeted deprived communities, where all the necessary conditions were being created to allow as many young people as possible to enroll in school.

He said many of his flagship community day senior high schools, for instance, were located in Muslim areas.

Source: Daily Graphic