By Kingsley Nana Buadu
The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has began consultation on the governnent legal framework for the proposed religious policy and the review of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759).
Stakeholders at the Central regional meeting in Elmina has among other things proposed regulations of religious activities through the various religious groupings to conform with societal values and norms, and adhere to their own profession values and ethics.
Although Ghana is often touted as peaceful in the sub-region, there are still concerns within religious bodies that need some attention.
Such concerns as proliferation of churches and false prophets, school children not being allowed to practice their religion in certain schools, establishment of media outlet by various religious groups to propagate falsehood and dupe innocent citizens and others came to the fore.
It is in this regard that the ministry with support from UNFPA is having these engagement sessions across the 16 regions.
The meetings aim to address the challenges and opportunities that arise from the co-existence of different faiths and beliefs in society.
It would also provide a framework for the protection and promotion of right and freedoms of all religious groups as well as the prevention and resolution of conflict that may arise from religious differences.
The Director for Policy Planning, budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, of the Ministry, Joseph Abbey, threw more light on the engagement. According to him, the engagement is an opportunity to hear from the various stakeholders so their opinions would be factored.
He explained that, the engagements are crucial steps in the development of a comprehensive and inclusive policy that will promote religious harmony, diversity and tolerance in the country.
A representative from Edina Traditional Council Nana Kwadwo Eduaquah, underscored the importance of such engagements.
Rev Father Joseph Takyi from the Catholic Arch-diocese of Cape Coast.
He was of the view that, the engagement was in the right direction especially as the nation prepares for the general elections.
A representative from the Muslim Teachers Association, Abdul Karim Fuseina, was concerned about some challenges Muslim students in some Christian schools are confronted with.
According to her, it’s about time such schools are made to appreciate the essence of tolerating each other’s religion.
At the meeting are representatives of various religious communities, civil society, organizations, academic institutions, media outlets other relevant stakeholders and the general public.