I have always carried a thought that religion would play role in Ghanaian politics if any of the two major political parties present a candidate from a minority religious faith in the country against a Christian candidate.
My thinking has been that if democracy is about numbers and majority rule, then the Christians who are in the majority in the country would want to rule.
Nevertheless, that thought of mine was challenged when I was approached by a team from the Vice President’s camp to help them promote the Vice President in the Northern, Savannah and North East regions, as a Moslem and Northern brother.
As curious as I was, I asked them whether it would be profitable to present our brother against another Northern brother, John Mahama, in this our country dominated by Christians. I was very frank with them that it won’t be easy, but I was assured by them that Karbo and Farouk had told them those around the Vice President have strategies to surmount that hurdle.
Even though I wasn’t really convinced, the Northern brotherhood factor compelled me to join the campaign with a special mandate to whip our fellow Moslems in line. Our message was very simple “Let’s make history by making DMB the first Moslem to become President in Ghana for Allah’s special blessings”. In all this, I was still unsure and sceptical about his chances against JM should we present him.
However, the recent election result in Nigeria and an article I recently read vindicated the thoughts I had carried about the role of religion in politics. I have therefore come to the conclusion that DMB won’t be a good candidate to win election for us. I have since checked out of his campaign, but yet to decide between Alan and Ken.
In Nigeria election, my research shows Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu was able to win most of the Moslem votes because he made the APC ticket a Moslem-Moslem ticket. Unlike his predecessor, Buhari, he chose a fellow Moslem as his running mate. His strategy worked to perfection. Knowing that the economy wind was against him, he highly played the religious card to his advantage by choosing a Moslem running mate. He knew the Moslems have the numbers so he did what would give him the numbers to win, regardless of the economic hardship.
However, both Labour Party and PDP had a Christian candidate on their tickets as presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively. As a result, the majority of the Christian votes were shared between the two parties even though Peter Obi’s Labour Party had more of that votes. That is why even though Peter Obi’s Labour Party is a new party, they did so well in the Christian dominated States. The religious factor clearly played in the Nigeria election.
Moreover, I read an article on social media in which the writer shed light on how religious factor played a key role in Ajumako Enyan Essiam Constituency in the 2020 election in Central Region. After reading the article I became more convinced about my thought. But, in order to be sure of the shocking result in 2020, I went to the Internet to verify things for myself.
After my brief research on the net, here is the shocking results I could verify. We (NPP) dominated the Constituency from 1996 to 2004 through our candidate then, the late Isaac Edumadze, who, at a time, served as the Central Regional Minister. In 2008, we unfortunately lost the seat to NDC’s Cassiel Ato Forson. He beat our candidate, William Kow Arthur-Baiden with a difference of 2,925.
In 2012, we were once again defeated by Cassiel Ato Forson. He beat our candidate, Festus Beedu Turkson with a difference of 3,290. Ransford Kwesi Nyarko was our candidate in 2016 against Cassiel Ato Forson. Even when Ato Forson was a Deputy Finance Minister, and I’m told he spent a lot of money in that election, he could only defeat our candidate with a difference of 3,698.
Then came in our Moslem brother, Dr. Rashid Kwesi Etuaful for the 2020 election. However, when one analyses the parliamentary result in the light of the special project campaign the party mounted there, it wouldn’t be wrong to describe his selection as a great political mistake. Presenting him, a practising Moslem, in a Christian dominated constituency, which is not our stronghold, was a grievous mistake.
The 11,000 vote difference suffered by him against Ato Forson, was highly abnormal. I have read that almost every big man in our party went there to campaign to get Ato Forson out and also more resources were sent there than any other constituency in the region. And when the NDC started feeling the pressure of the special project campaign, they pressed the religious button which perfectly worked for them.
Money was never a problem in that election! And that makes the religious factor even more scary against a propaganda party like the NDC. Why should we mistakenly play into their propaganda hands again at the national level in 2024?
I’m a proud Northerner and Moslem, but I’m also a very objective person. I will never allow my religion to blind my sense of objectivity. Presenting Dr. Bawumia against John Mahama in a country of almost 72% Christians would be a great political mistake just like the Ajumako Enyan Essiam Constituency situation.