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Election 2020: Think, speak and act peace

National Peace Council (NPC) File Photo

Mon, 9 Mar 2020 Source: Kafui Nutsu

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Over the years, Ghana has made remarkable progress as one of the success stories in Africa’s democratic project. Political power has changed three times – all-important milestones from 2001 to 2016 therefore Ghanaians need to pat themselves at the back for an excellent job done.

Elections are an important mechanism in democratic and peace processes. Their purpose is to provide citizens with an opportunity to choose freely their political leaders and allocate power peacefully. However, underlying tensions in a society and high- stake competition can also result in violent and fraudulous elections. To avoid any unforeseen mayhem, we should not be deceived into thinking that the successes chalked over the years are automatic and has become our birthright; when pride starts creeping in, a fall and doom awaits us.

The National Peace Council bearing in mind the non-automaticity of peaceful elections has heightened its efforts to fulfill its mandate by facilitating the development of mechanisms for cooperation among all relevant stakeholders, in peace building in Ghana, by promoting cooperative problem solving to conflicts and by institutionalizing the processes of response to conflicts to produce outcomes that lead to conflict transformation, social, political and religious reconciliation and transformative dialogues.

It is against this backdrop that the National Peace Council has engaged all stakeholders in peace building to design a roadmap and code of conduct to eradicate political vigilantism and also collaborating with its partners to dialogue with the political parties on how to resolve internal conflicts as well as strengthening the internal structures for conflict resolution.

The need for peace is more important than the election itself. For if there is no peace before, during and after the elections, both the top dog and the competitors will have no reasons to celebrate and lessons to learn respectively. It is to this end that all stakeholders including the electorate need to abide by the rules and regulation and meticulously follow systems and procedure put in place by the Electoral commission for a peaceful and competitive election. The Electoral Commission should be given all the support and space it needs to ensure credible elections that reflect the will of the people. That is not to say, stakeholders should sit aloof and look on when loopholes are spotted but rather channel grievances in a manner that falls under the ambit of the law.

To ensure peaceful elections, it is necessary that political parties and the media are mindful of the words that are spewed out on major platforms and in their reportage respectively so that negative reactions from the electorates are not elicited but rather instill trust, confidence, commitment and most importantly, patriotism.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”- (Mother Teresa), therefore, whoever wins or does not, Ghanaians we are. Reference the National Pledge that has been recited by most of us, sometime in the past; we are reminded that we are first, “faithful and loyal to Ghana and not to any political party.

All our strength and heart have been dedicated to serve Ghana and not any other. We have promised to hold the nation in high esteem and not any group of people. Let us not destroy and hand over the heritage our ancestors won for us through their blood and toil to chaos and ruins. We have pledged to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana and not any political party”. In order to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections, tolerance should guide our thought, words and actions as we approach the polls.

If any form of mischievous activity and fraudulent behavior is suspected, all are encouraged to rapidly notify the security agencies to take action and not to take the law into their hands and resort to violence. The security agencies should be out of bed to erase the mistrust some electorates might have in them. All the three major religions in the nation have peace sitting deep in their teachings and doctrine so preaching peace to citizens should not be a daunting task.

As we seek and pursue peace Christians should keep in mind the scripture that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” while the Muslims meditate “Praised be All-Merciful (Allah) who walk humbly upon the earth and when the ignorant taunt them (Servants), they reply, peace!” and the Traditionalists emulate their ancestors who propagated peaceful coexistence and promoted good relations with neighbors.

Let us all with one accord ensure that GHANA WINS.

Columnist: Kafui Nutsu