Vice President Assures Disappointed Hajj Pilgrims Of Refund
Vice President John Dramani Mahama has assured the over 500 disappointed Hajj pilgrims of 2010 that their monies would be refunded to them, whilst ensuring that they are a priority for the 2011 pilgrimage to Mecca. He further assured of an incidence-free Hajj this year, saying that lessons have been taken from that of 2010. There have been agitations recently by some agents who accuse the Hajj Committee of refusing to refund their monies to them. The Committee Executives had explained that until a law suit against them was concluded, it could not refund the monies. However speaking to a gathering of Muslim leaders from the ten regions of the country at the Castle on Tuesday January 11, Vice President John Mahama indicated he would be meeting with the Hajj Committee to instruct that such monies are refunded. “Next week I am going to hold a meeting with the Hajj Committee and I am going to put in place a mechanism for refunding the monies to those who were not able to make it. We will create a mechanism for them to repay at the appropriate time when they are ready. But for those who wish to leave their monies there, they have the right to do so. This year we intend to work even harder to ensure that we organise the best Hajj possible so we will start preparations early” he said. The Moslem leaders led by the National Chief Imam were at the Castle to express their gratitude to government for sponsoring them to the Hajj in 2009. According to them, the gesture by government had yielded unimaginable dividends. They cited a 15 year old leadership conflict in the Ashanti Region as having been resolved because the leaders met in Saudi Arabia for the hajj. They further indicated that through the gesture, they as a group have been able to strike certain key partnerships in education and other fronts with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia. Whilst promising a better Hajj organization in 2011 devoid of the many problems that engulfed the 2010 trip, the Vice President informed the gathering about government’s continued support to the Muslim community. He said he would ensure that the Hajj Committee gives preferential treatment to those who could not make the pilgrimage in 2010, during the 2011 trip. Vice President Mahama further called for unity within the Muslim community and particularly people of northern descent as a way of fighting poverty in those regions. “Indeed we have more cause to be united and not to be in dispute because if you look at the poverty profile of this country, the Northern Muslim Zongo communities are the poorest and the only way we can pull ourselves out of this poverty, is to unite and hold each other and be able to strive to make the forward steps in education in terms of encouraging our people to go into the private sector and businesses that we need to do” he urged.