[ 2012-06-18 ]
Include Zongo chiefs in traditional councils
The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has
proposed the inclusion of Zongo chiefs in all the
traditional councils in the country to promote
dialogue, harmony and peaceful co-existence among
He also charged the various ethnic groups to
ensure proper management of their relationships to
prevent conflict and stressed the need for the
public not to infringe on the religious freedoms
of other people.
The Vice-President made the proposal when he
opened the first National Congress of the Council
of Zongo Chiefs in Accra Saturday.
Held on the theme: “Uniting Zongo Chiefs for Peace
and Socio-economic Development”, the congress was
meant to adopt the revised constitution of the
council, elect new officers and strategise for the
It was chaired by Professor Naa Nabila, the Wulugu
Naba and President of the National House of
Mr Mahama said some traditional areas had
incorporated Zongo chiefs into their councils, a
move which had promoted peace among the people.
He said the remaining traditional areas should
also follow suit by appointing some Zongo chiefs
to serve on their councils to promote
understanding, unity and peace.
Tracing the history of the Zongo communities, the
Vice-President said during the trans-Atlantic
slave trade, merchants, mainly Muslims, settled at
the outskirts of towns, usually close to mosques.
He said the people of the Zongos were later
enlisted into the Army and indicated that the
first unit created by the Gold Coast for the
people of the Zongos and those from the northern
part of the nation was called the Hausa
The Vice-President said now the Zongos were made
up of Muslims and Christians from the various
ethnic groups and indicated that with the
expansion of cities, Zongos were at the centre of
He said on the eve of independence, every person
within the territory of the country became a
Ghanaian, saying that “the people of Zongo are
equal Ghanaians as other people”.
Mr Mahama congratulated traditional and religious
leaders on contributing to the maintenance of
peace in the country but cautioned that the
country should not take that peace for granted.
Consequently, he said, it was about time the
various ethnic groups devised ways of improving
their relationships to ensure continuous peace
among their people and avoid conflict.
Mr Mahama described the recent unrest between the
indigenes of Hohoe and their brothers in the Zongo
community as an unfortunate misunderstanding
between two communities, not a fight between
Muslims and Christians.
He said both parties had expressed their
commitment to resolve the conflict and gave an
assurance that the government would continue to
support the peace initiative and also support the
affected people to stand on their feet.
The Vice-President stressed the need for Muslims
to send their children, especially the girls, to
school and support them to achieve their
potential, since that was the only way they could
improve their living conditions.
He also asked the youth not to allow themselves to
be used as thugs by politicians but rather acquire
employable skills and take advantage of the
various National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP)
modules to earn income.
On this year’s Hajj, Mr Mahama announced that
Ghana’s Hajj quota had been increased from 4,000
to 6,000 to cater for all Ghanaian Muslim pilgrims
and avoid any difficulty in the acquisition of
He said for the first time pilgrims from the
northern part of the country would be checked in
Tamale and transported directly to the Kotoka
International Airport to be lifted to the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.
He said the deadline for the payment of the Hajj
fare of $3,100 was August 31, 2012 and asked all
prospective pilgrims and Hajj agents to pay on
time to avoid any disappointment.
The former Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama,
expressed worry at the perception that many people
in the Zongos were engaged in criminal activities,
besides the fact that they were backward in terms
of education and social status.
He charged the Zongo chiefs to liaise with opinion
leaders to fashion out a strategy of reversing the
trend by focusing more on giving Zongo children
quality education and discouraging them from any
Alhaji Mahama said the establishment of the
council was welcome, as it would offer the
opportunity for the people of the Zongos to build
peace and unity within their respective
communities “and strengthen our efforts at
alleviating poverty in our communities”.
The Public Relations Officer of the National
Council of Zongo Chiefs, Chief Alhaji Imoro Baba
Issa, said the three-day congress would help
delegates to adopt and review a constitution which
would help direct the affairs of the Zongo
The Wulugu Naba stressed the need for the Zongo
chiefs to be incorporated into traditional
councils to give them a sense of belonging and
promote dialogue and peace among the people.
Source - Daily Graphic
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