Politicians Should Be Careful of Their Utterances When Seeking Votes - NCCE

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) hosted a ten-member (10) delegation from the Parliamentary Caucus from Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Malawi as well as Faith Leaders on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) under the auspices of the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA). The meeting was held in the upper conference room of the head office of the Commission. The purpose of the visit was to enable them to interact with Governance/Human Rights Institutions (of which the NCCE is a part) to learn and share ideas and experiences.

The ten-member delegation was the Islamic Council of Gambia, Sheikh Imam Muhaud Jaith; the Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone, Rev. Dr Usman Jesse Fornah and Alhaji Momoudu T. Koroma; Sierra Leone’s House of Parliament, Hon. Musa Fofamah; the Gambia National Assembly, Hon. Abdoulie Ceesay and Hon. Amadou Camara; Malawi Parliament, Hon. Dr Ephraim Abdul Kayembe; Parliament of Sierra Leone, Hon. Abdul Kapbo; the Gambia Christian Council, James S. Celle and accompanied by Ibrahim Inusah and Isifu Lampo from the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA).

In attendance were the Chairman of the Commission, Ms. Kathy Addy; the Deputy Chairman of Operations, Mr. Akuamoah; the Deputy Chairman for Finance and Administration, Mr. Brobbey (Esq), the Commission Secretary, Mrs. Lucille Hewlett Anan, and all line Directors.

Ms. Addy briefly explained the work of the Commission, the management structure, the mandate, and core values (Independence, Presence, and Integrity) to the delegates. She reiterated the importance of deepening awareness of religious tolerance and collaboration among institutions, especially in the wake of the upcoming 2024 General Election. She said, “Religious intolerance will not be tolerated or accepted. It will not work”.

Mr Akuamoah emphasized the reported cases of Violent Extremism like the Jihadist groups not only on a religious basis but in terms of trade within the Sahel region. He ended by encouraging participants to enter into politics to further ensure that there is no divide along the lines of religion by saying, “Politics is a dirty game. We need to go there and make it clean”.

Mr Brobbey advised the delegates to adopt statutory independence since the NCCE has been made independent by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The delegates expressed concern for peculiar religious issues they have experienced in their respective countries like legal cases involving the wearing of hijabs and keeping Rastafarian hair in educational institutions and politicians using religion to serve their political interests. A Sierra Leonian delegate commented on the norm in the religious selection of the flagbearer and running mate where one is a Muslim, and the other, a Christian. He was in agreement with the suggestion put forward by Ms Addy to document all cases of religious intolerance across the Sahel region for future reference, building collaborations and sharing best practices.

Finally, Sheikh Imam Muhaud Jaith stated that religious intolerance connotes superiority and inferiority and termed it as religious accommodation and acceptance. He said, “Extremism is born of ignorance and ignorance fuels fear. In order to find a solution, we need to look at the key causes”. The delegates expressed gratitude for the warm reception and expressed interest in further collaboration with the civic education institutions in their respective countries.


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