‘Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s Comment Not Offensive’ – Lecturer
Dr Worlanyo Bansa, a lecturer of Church History at the Department of Religion of the University of Cape Coast was reported to have said in an interview he granted to Citi FM, an Accra based radio station, that Dr Bawumia’s call for ‘religious balance’ at the seat of government was not ‘offensive’.
I’m not sure anyone is contesting whether or not the comments attributed to Dr Bawumia were offensive. The substance of Dr Bawumia’s comments is that it carried religious connotations which the constitution of Ghana frowns upon! Ghana is governed by laws. There’s nowhere in our constitution where it’s explicitly or impliedly stated that appointment to public offices must ensure ‘religious balance.’ At least I know of regional balance for a fact but not ‘religious balance’. Or could it have been a genuine slip of tongue on the part of Dr Bawumia as some of us often mistake religion for region?
Come to think of it, Ghana as a secular state doesn’t have only two religions. We have three main religions: African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam. Then we have the least recognized: Atheism. And none of these faiths is superior or inferior to the other.
Therefore, an attempt to call for religious balance for only practitioners of Christian and Islamic faiths in the appointment of persons into public offices only sort to suggest that those faiths are superior to others and so must be treated equally as it were. It’s against this backdrop, I believe, the framers of our constitution in their wisdom put a caveat to disallow appointments being done on religious grounds.
In any case, appointments are done on merit. I recall when former president Kufuor was asked as to why his government was full of his friends and relatives; his response was that those were people he felt he could work with. He was absolute!So I agreed that Dr Bawumia’s comments weren’t ‘offensive’ as we are being made to believe. The damage of his comments was far greater than being described as ‘offensive’. It actually violated a section of our laws that prohibits appointments being done on religious grounds. In fact, it undermines our constitution!
Ex-president Kufuor had the late Aliu Mahama, a moslem as his vice. Did Kufuor’s administration ensure ‘religious balance’ at the seat of government or elsewhere for that matter? Have any of our past governments ensured that in the history of the Ghanaian politics after independence? In our pre-independence history, it was our colonial masters who introduced the ‘divide and rule’ tactics which perfectly worked for them. But I bet you, anyone with the inclination to pin one religion or ethnic group against the other to rule this country, will never succeed.
I think we should desist from playing religious and ethnic cards in our national politics. Let’s be circumspect and mindful of our utterances especially on public platforms! I’m not sure any of our public figures or politicians have knifes placed on their throats each time they come out to talk and therefore must necessarily say something even if ‘stupid’ to avoid being killed. There are many issues confronting our nation which we want to hear our politicians to speak to. But if you’re such a lazy politician that you don’t have an issue to address, just shut the hell up!