Three Muslim groups, the Ghana Muslim Broadcast Journalists Association, the Northerners and Zongos Concerned Youth Association, and the Ghana Hajj Research, are urging government and the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osumanu Nuhu Sharubutu, to continue handling all Hajj organization and its related activities in the country.
During an interaction with the media, in the flurry of agitations for and against who should handle Hajj related activities, the groups revealed that there are calls by some groups for government to end its involvement in the hajj operations in Ghana, which according to them amounts to the state interfering in a religious affairs- something they claim is not right.
Already, as part of the ploy, the groups alleged that some groups of people will today, September 7, this year, hold a press conference to criticize the current Hajj Board and mount pressure for its dissolution and appealed to the President and the Vice not to heed to such calls.
According to the three groups, the same people who were responsible for the past mess and were exposed for sabotaging the 2017 and 2018 Hajj operations are at it again, calling on government to dissolve the present hajj Board for their own selfish interest.
The Ghana Muslim Broadcast Journalists Association, the Northerners and Zongos Concerned Youth Association, and the Ghana Hajj Research are, therefore, calling on President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia to be guided by the activities of those groups under former President Kufour and not bow to pressure to hand over hajj operations to private individuals.
They however recalled that during the time of the former President John Agyekum Kuffour, some groups mounted pressure on him to handle the hajj operations to them which he did with devastating consequences.
As a result, the three groups said there was serious mess due to backbiting and infighting, which resulted in a huge debt for the government to clear, adding that, the organization which handled the hajj left over 700 paid pilgrims stranded and later expressed dissatisfaction by sleeping at the residence of the National Chief Imam before the government was called upon to intervene to resolve the impasse.
The groups revealed that no government in the history of hajj Operations in Ghana appoints non- Muslims to head the Hajj Board, hence their call on the government and the office of the National Chief Imam to continue to appoint members to the Hajj Board.
The groups added that similar pressure was mounted during the NDC regime by some groups but the then NDC government refused to heed to their calls due to the mess and untold difficulties past experiences visited on innocent pilgrims.