ASWAJ National Dawah Council defies new directives of National Imam
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Tamale: The National Dawah Council (NADAC) of Ahlussunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWAJ) Ghana says the recently announced directives by their National Chief Imam, Imam Hajj Umar Ibrahim, would not be binding on members of the sectarian Muslim organisation.

According to the Council, some of the directives were in contravention of the organisation’s constitution and would require the constitution to be amended first before they became enforceable.

On December 16, 2023, the National Imam held a press conference at the ASWAJ headquarters in Accra under the theme “The Final Verdict” to announce reforms and directives to address leadership issues affecting ASWAJ.

The announcements included the abolishment of the ranking of deputies, the introduction of Sheikh Munir as national deputy imam without recourse to NADAC, the reserved right of the imam to change the role of deputies, the plan to amend the organisation’s constitution, and the onward rejection of any funds realised from a truck investment account.

Speaking at a NADAC press briefing in Tamale on December 24, 2023, Secretary of NADAC Sheikh Suleiman Muzu explained that while the constitution grants the National Imam the opportunity to make pronouncements that are binding on all members, the National Imam does not have the power to change provisions of the constitution without following due process as enshrined in Article 18.

“Most importantly, he doesn’t have the powers to select the National Chief Imams and the Deputies, as it is the mandate of the NADAC,” he said.

He narrated that on January 8, 2022, the NADAC, in consultation with the National Imam, held a two-day meeting at Kpong in the Eastern Region to elect two deputy Imams for the organisation.

The exercise was aimed at filling a 5-year vacuum created at the top level of the organisation following the suspension of the then-First National Deputy, Sheikh Munir, in 2017.

He said at the end of the meeting, Sheikh Kamil Mohammed Kamil was elected First National Deputy, while Sheikh Amin Uthman Tanko was elected Second National Deputy of ASWAJ.

Despite the outcome of the meeting, the Imam of ASWAJ at the December 16, press conference in Accra mentioned Sheikh Kamil Mohammed Kamil and Sheikh Munir as his two deputies without ranks who would be recognised by the task assigned them, thus Dawa and Education; and Administration and Finance, respectively.

According to NADAC, the changes were contrary to Article 12(b) of the constitution, which states that “the National Executive Council (NEC) will be made up of the National Imam, the first Deputy Imam, and the Second National Deputy Imam.”

Moreover, it indicated that the recent directive was against Article 9(B) subsections 2 and 3, which state that “the first deputy national imam shall oversee the day-to-day financial and administrative activities of ASWAJ and act in the national imam’s stead in his absence.

“The second deputy national imam shall be responsible for Dawa and educational activities of ASWAJ; act in the first deputy national imam’s stead in his national imam’s absence; act in the national imam and the first deputy national imam’s stead in the peculiar absence of both; and report directly to the national imam.”

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The Council noted that the efforts to ensure compliance with the constitutional provisions were not to clamour for the National Imam position, as the process for the election of the leader has been clearly stipulated in the ASWAJ constitution.

In response to accusations of withholding ASWAJ assets and funds outside the organisation’s headquarters, NADAC indicated that, upon consultation with the National Imam, it started the Tijarul Maa Allah initiative, a fundraising project that sought to support the ASWAJ headquarters through investment portfolios.

“The initial contribution amounted to GH₵69,000, after which the imam requested for the amount to be released, but we, the imams, insisted it was for an investment.

“After three years of mobilisation, we realised GH₵230,000, and we then arrived at a final consensus to procure a tipper truck at the cost of $81,000, corresponding to GH₵595350 on credit, which was paid within one year,” said Sheikh Muzu.

He said an additional capital of GH₵44,642.28 was secured as a loan from a member to make the initial deposit for the truck to be released to the organisation.

Subsequently, he noted that an investment committee under the National Representative Congress (NRC) has been set up to manage the asset.

He disclosed that proceeds from the truck acquisition have on two occasions been disbursed to the National Imam for the smooth operation of the headquarters, despite the Imam’s decline to be one of three signatories to the truck investment account.

Sheikh Muzu, who is also the Western Regional Imam, also disclosed that three new companies, including Kawthar Mineral Water Company, ASWAJ Travel and Tours, and ASWAJ Security Company, had been duly registered and would commence operation soon.

Some NADAC members present at the “Setting the Records Straight” press conference included Sheikh Iddrisu Ibrahim Basha, Northern Regional Imam; Sheikh Ahmed Tijani Garba Gagarau, Bono East Regional Imam; Sheikh Mohammed Attick, Eastern Regional Imam; and Shiekh Ahmed Said, Bono Regional Imam.

The rest are Sheikh Mohammed Gawthu, Upper West Region; Sheikh Ahmed Faida, North East Regional Imam; Sheikh Ahmed Harun Toure Jawara, Central Regional Imam; Abdullahi Yusif Saari, Upper East Regional Imam; Sheikh Abdallah Abdul Razak, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee of ASWAJ; and Dr. Ismail Said Adam, Vice Chairman of NADAC.

There were also representatives from the National Executive Council, the National Representative Congress, the National Representative Assembly, and the National Advisory Board.

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