Election does not mean violence- gender activist

Joyce Ohenewaa Kwapong is a women and children activist-mentoring a section of school pupils in Accra

“Peace is a journey of 1000 miles and it must be taken one step at a time” as Lyndon B. Johnson aptly puts it.

This year 2016 creates an atmosphere where Ghanaians will be in a position to take a step of an election journey.

The most pertinent question is not “Who will win the election” but “Will our nation get peace-wrecked after we have fulfilled our constitutional rights of going to the polls?”

This article is not to criticize aspiring leaders or politicians, neither is it written on partisan basis but to advocate for peace during this election season.
Let us all unite and advocate for peace beyond our individualistic concerns and political affiliations. The peace of Ghana is my peace, your peace and the peace of generations unborn.

Great leaders who have departed from us were hungry not for power, but for peace.
Nelson Mandela made it clear when he made this statement,

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. ”

So if I may ask our current generation, What is your dream for Ghana and Africa?
As a political aspirant, What is your dream?
As a citizen, What is your dream?
Is your dream that which is backed by selfish motives? Limited to caucus interest?
Politician, to gain power and amass wealth?
To siphon the nation’s resources all to yourself?
Is that all your dream?

People, let us look beyond mere power, for

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” Jimi Hendrise.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide once said,
“We must all make peace so that we can all live in peace”

A youth activist, E.K.D. Oppong passionately expressed “Peace remains a national asset of every democratic state; it is prudent thereof as youths of this country we avail ourselves to live and advocate for peace, before, during and after elections”

All citizens, young and old, strong and weak, must make efforts to promote peace and not engage in any sinister activity that will spearhead riot during this election period.

“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and SACRIFICE for it.”

In our actions and inactions, we must sacrifice for peace.
Some utterances must be forcefully and diplomatically swallowed as you and I, as our sacrifice for peace.
Angry fists and fingers must be calmly put at our backs for the power of the thumb to decide.
Machetes, cutlasses, knives, instruments of violence and war, as well as blood spilling objects must be peacefully laid down as our sacrifice for peace.

Women in Ghana must arise, brave all odds and come to the realization that they have proactive and active roles to play in this election period.

The political climate is getting tensed each day and women must make their voices heard rather than being passive observers; for when a nation is denied of its peace, they become the most vulnerable victims.
Women are known to be good talkers and this is the time to capitalize on their talking abilities and strength to advocate for peace and also, uniting to form peace coalitions so as to achieve a common purpose; which is the peace of Ghana and Africa.

History can take us back to trace the various roles women played in their societies to ensure peace, with the likes of Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Betty Friedan, Maya Angelou…

Mother Theresa, a woman of great influence asserted,

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other”

Truly, if we lose sight of the fact that we are one people and we belong to each other, then we will begin to wage war against ourselves.
If as a nation, we are well-lived by this quote of Mother Theresa, peace will be the nation’s bread.

It takes years to build but it can take a day or less to destroy.
In casting our individual votes, let us remain as one people, neutral on the outside, allowing our political affiliation to be deep seated within us, tolerating the opinions of each political party and eschewing all forms of bickering and derogatory comments that could jeopardize the peace and tranquility of the country.

As Ghanaians, peace has been our national heritage, which we must be proud of and protect fearfully with all diligence.

National interests of political stability and peace should be our responsibilities as youths during this electioneering year. We must be an active force championing Peace, advocating for voilent-free processes rather than muting our right conscience of nationalism to “die” for partisan interests. Its a call of duty, and we must arise as youths of Ghana to defend our democratic integrity.

I entreat and encourage our youths, especially the educated elites; greatly influencing societies to avail themselves actively to promote peace-talks or campaigns within their respective societies. A stable political environment before, during and after elections is a national treasure we must protect and defend in one spirit–Nationalism!

Our aspiring leaders and politicians must realize that they are the vehicles through which our dreams of having a peaceful election are translated to reality.
They must play politics with conscience and have in mind that election into power is not a “do or die” affair which should make them hungry for power to the detriment of human lives and property.

The Electoral Commission, the body that controls all facets of our elections must ensure that their conducts in discharging their duties of accountability are fair and just.

“The effective and fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much” the Christian Bible preaches

Quran 2:110 teaches ” And be steadfast in prayer and whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah. For Allah sees well all that ye do”

With the teachings in Christianity and Islam concerning prayer, I thereby plead with all Ghanaians that whenever they say a prayer, they should pray for the peace of our beloved country.

It is my devout hope, as the hope of many others, to observe a peaceful, violent-free election.
Together, let us stay peaceful in the upcoming elections; for peace blossoms, peace spreads, peace illuminates and peace fulfils.

Ghana needs peace and not to be left in pieces.


Source: The Author, Joyce Ohenewaa Kwapong is  a women and children activist
at University of Ghana, Accra City Campus



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