Ghanaian Chronicle

Peace…our strength for sustainable development

Date published: October 10, 2012

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace is a state of harmony characterised by the absence of conflicts, chaos and the freedom from fear of violence. Peace means there is an existence of healthy interpersonal or international relationships. Peace means freedom from civil or public disorder.

Ghana, our dear nation, heads to the polls, come December 2012. This year’s elections are indeed a test to the well-touted democratic credentials of Ghana. There has been a high political upheaval over the period.

We have witnessed a situation where both the government in power and the opposition are making predictions beforehand. The print and the electronic media are filled with accusations and counter accusations, character assassination and libel, all serving as indicators that pose a great threat to the peace we enjoy.

Not a day will pass that we will not hear on our air waves political topics to be discussed. This phenomenon is, of course, not exceptional in any electoral period. Ghana is considered as fortunate, as since the inception of democratic rule from 1992, elections have witnessed little or no violence.

Ghana, our dear nation, is considered the citadel of peace and growing democratic governance on the black continent of Africa.

The stakes are very high in the December 2012 elections. Some analysts describe the election as a real test to our democratic dispensation. I believe that they are not far from right. It can be recalled on the African continent that most of the violent clashes which results in deaths, displacement and destruction of properties worth billions, which again, blocks developments, subjecting citizens to hunger and poverty, are often a result of the struggle for political power.  Elections in most parts of Africa are characterised by conflicts which drag development in our regions.

Peace is a basis for a sustainable national development. We have so many examples as a country, on how the absence of peace impedes development.

Taking for instance, a neighbouring country of Cote d’Ivoire, due to the lack of peace and understanding between the ruling government and the opposition, a nation, which was once prided as the beacon of West Africa and the leading producer and exporter of cocoa in Africa, became a nation where the citizens have lost hope.

All the efforts used in building the country after independence were brought to a halt abruptly, due to the absence of peace. Lives were lost. Citizens became refugees in their own country. The level of economic hardship was very unbearable. Businesses collapsed, and the country lost foreign direct investment.

The electoral violence in Cote d’Ivoire has cost the nation more harm than good. Can you imagine the amount of resources needed to rebuild the nation? A lot would have to be again sacrificed in order to bring the nation back on its feet. Meanwhile those resources could have been put into alternative uses to cause more development, should there have been no clashes. At least, this is a perfect example for us a country to observe.

Let all as people analyze and put ourselves into the shoes of the Ivoirians, and imagine how our case would have been in such circumstance. At least, this would never be the wish of any Ghanaian citizen. Brilliant, that is why we all have a role to play in order to safeguard the peace we are all enjoying as a nation.

Ghana, our dear nation, is crying for peace; we are all crying for peace to prevail. We have done it before; we have shown the world how peaceful we are. Let’s all play our roles to uphold the peace in our dear nation. Remember, elections or no elections, we yearn for peace, and the benefits from peace are so many and comes in diverse ways.

We need peace to run our businesses; we need peace to see our children through schools; we need peace to enjoy the fruits of our labour; we need peace to ascertain the development that we all want to see. Development cannot occur in the absence of peace, likewise, whenever and wherever there is peace, there is development.

The Electoral Commission and our security services have a very crucial role to play in our quest for peace. Political parties, as major stakeholders, also have a role to play to champion the peace rally, and supporters of the various political parties must exercise some level of political tolerance to help safeguard the peace we are all enjoying.

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