14 February 2011

Ghana: Muslim Group - Hajj Committee is Illegal Entity, but Collins Dauda Depicts

The confusion that usually characterises the organisation of the Hajj for Muslim pilgrims in this country has once again, reared its ugly head within the Muslim groups, questioning the legal status of the National Hajj Committee (NHC), the body charged with the responsibility of organising the Hajj.

Last week, a group calling itself the Muslim Forum for Transparency and Accountability (MuFTA), supported by other groups such as the Ghana Muslim Students' Association (GMSA), the Concerned Muslim Youth of Ghana (COMYOGHA) and others, issued a press statement questioning the legal status of the NHC, and described its existence as "illegal".

The statement described the choice of 'National Hajj Committee' as the corporate name for the Committee as "criminal" and "tantamount to impersonation," and called "on the Security Agencies and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the activities of the Committee."

They threatened to embark on a massive demonstration as a last alternative.

The groups critically attacked the Minister for Transportation, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and a leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for their roles in putting in place the "National Hajj Committee," thereby "perpetrating illegality and corruption."

The statement expressed shock at the alleged involvement of the said NDC stalwart, who is a lawyer, and should have therefore known better.

On Alhaji Dauda, the group warned him "not to forget that he is working with a President who is an astute lawyer, and has vowed to work with people who believe in the principles of eradicating corruption, mismanagement, and saving money for development."

The statement further admonished Dauda "to exhibit the qualities being advocated by the His Excellency, the President."

When Collins Dauda was contacted in his office, he vehemently denied ever being part of the formation of the Committee, and threatened legal action against the organisers of the press conference, if they did not render an apology to him.

Alhaji Dauda however, gave the matter a political twist, when he accused the organisers of the press conference as being "NPP elements around the His Eminence, the Chief Imam, who do not want to see the progress of the Hajj organisation under an NDC administration."

When the Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Benneh, was contacted, he denied all the allegations leveled against the Committee and its members, and said he had the unflinching support of the National Chief Imam, and the Vice President, H.E. John Mahana.

He also described the group as "a gang of NPP guys who have surrounded the Chief Imam." He added that they were non-entities, and so do not deserve his response to the questions raised at the press conference.

On the threat by MuFTA, the main group that organised the press conference, to embark on a demonstration, Alhaji Benneh warned that if they dared hit the streets, he would meet them with a stronger force, saying "If they bring ten people, I will meet then with thousand people."

He took the opportunity to explain some of the problems the committee encountered during the last year's hajj, describing the source of the problem as coming from the NDC, his own party, but promised a better hajj this year.

The group has however, denied being members of NPP, and mentioned some of the roles they played towards NDC's victory in the last elections, with some of them serving on the NDC Manifesto Committee.

Alhaji Benneh however, raised doubts that they were NDC supporters, as they claimed. He added that they could not be faithful NDC supporters more than himself, who has played various roles towards the well-being of the party.

He said those behind the agitations have had their share of managing Hajj affairs in the country under the NPP, and should sit back and allow them manage the affairs of the hajj under the 'Better Ghana' agenda.

Copyright © 2011 Ghanaian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.