Mahama Pledges to Reduce Hajj Costs for Ghanaian Muslims if Elected President

by Louisa Afful
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The 2024 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama during the Eid-ul-Adha celebration promised to reduce Hajj- the annual pilgrimage to Mecca expenses if elected as President. Speaking during Eid prayers with the Ahlussuna Wal-Jamah Muslim group at the State House in Accra on Sunday, June 16, Mahama criticized the current Hajj cost of GH¢75,000 as excessively high, making it difficult for many ordinary Muslims to afford the pilgrimage.

“Our pilgrims are in Mecca performing the Hajj. May Allah bring them safely home to us. Those who have been able to go are the privileged ones because we have had fares at GH¢75,000. It is very difficult for the ordinary Muslim to perform the Hajj, but Insha Allah, if we win in this election and we come into government, we are going to work to reduce the Hajj fare so that everybody can go,” Mahama stated.

Similar concerns have been raised by Mustapha Batalima Abubakar, a former Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). He warned that the current Hajj Board risks undermining Hajj operations in Ghana through exorbitant charges, which have increased by more than 500 percent, forcing many Ghanaian pilgrims to seek alternative routes.

Speaking on Joy FM Midday News, Abubakar noted that during Mahama’s previous tenure, Hajj fares were ₵11,900.00, but have now risen to ₵75,000.00. He highlighted that the high costs have led many to use the backdoor for the pilgrimage.

For years, complaints have persisted about Ghana’s organisation of the annual pilgrimage. This year, two Ghanaian pilgrims from Damongo in the Savannah region died during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, passing away on separate days—one on Sunday, June 9, and the other on Wednesday, June 12. More than 4,000 Ghanaian pilgrims are currently in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.

The Chairman of the Hajj Board confirmed the deaths, noting that the deceased have been laid to rest according to Islamic customs. Additionally, he announced that a Ghanaian female pilgrim gave birth during the Hajj in the Holy City of Mecca.

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