The office of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was forced to issue a statement Tuesday after a Facebook message by a popular radio presenter in Tamale, which sought to incite some three prominent clerics against the Vice President, backfired and drew wild indignation online.
The confusion among the fallouts of the Vice President’s Ramadan tour of the region has the potential to trigger sectarian tensions in the regional capital but the statement, timely and appropriate, deflated emotions and prevented escalations.
The controversial radio DJ, Abubakari Naporo, also known as DJ Parara, took to social media to slam and criticized Dr. Bawumia for alleged failure to visit Shaykh Dalhu, leader of Shiite Islamic sect in the region, and two other respected clerics- Shaykh Amin Sawaba and Mallam Fari.
The DJ also accused the Vice President of giving preferential treatment to leaders and followers of Ambariyya, Tijanniya and Masjid Bayan sects and leaving out the leader of the Shiite Muslims and the two others.
The post also alleged that Dr. Bawumia did not include Shaykh Amin and Mallam Fari in the distribution of Ramadan items and other gestures.
The post immediately nearly inflamed the already volatile and tense climate and sparked angry responses from followers of the clerics who accused the Vice President of promoting divisions among the Islamic factions in the city.
However, a response from the Vice President office denied all the claims by the radio DJ.
Akbar Rohullah Khomeini, an aide who has been touring the regions with Dr. Bawumia praised him of “always being a unifier in his conduct”.
“My attention has been drawn to a Facebook post by DJ Parara of Tamale in which he sought to create the impression that the Vice President Dr. Bawumia excluded Shaykh Dalhu, Shaykh Amin Sawaba and Mallam Fari in his Ramadan gestures.
Claim 1. That the Dr. Bawumia paid for the telecast of tafseer of Tijanniya, Amabariyya, Shaykh Bayan to the exclusion of my very own Shaykh Dalhu.
Response: Dr. Bawumia paid for Shaykh Dalhu and the Shia community. I personally sent an amount of GH¢6,000 to cover the entire month of Ramadan. On the instruction of Shaykh Dalhu, the money was sent to DJ Nash.
Claim 2. That Dr. Bawumia did not include Shaykh Amin Sawaba and Mallam Fari in the distribution of the Ramadan items.
Response: The Regional Minister and the party executives delivered the entire Ramadan package to the leadership of various sects for onward distribution amongst themselves.
Claim 3: That Dr. Bawumia embarked on Ramadan tour without visiting the mosques of Shaykh Amin Sawaba and Mallam Fari.
Response: In this year’s Ramadan tour, we did not visit a single mosque in Tamale. We observed salat outside Tamale. In 2016 and 2017, the tour focused on Tamale. This year we decided to move out of Tamale to interact with fellow Muslims in the Northern region.
We, however, organised Iftar in Tamale in which all Imams of various sects were invited”, Akbar replied.
The DJ has since deleted the post and pressure mounting on him to apologize to the Vice President for the inaccurate allegations.
DJ Naporo did not respond to requests for comments on the calls to apologise to Dr. Bawumia.