The subject of PEACE, especially at this point in Ghana’s history is so crucial that I have to crawl out of my literary hibernation and adumbrate a few thoughts that I need to share with us today for our individual consideration. If you have never thought about it, prayed about it, planned to ensure it is sustained and considered joining a group, fellowship or campaign to ensure it is secured, reinforced and perpetuated within Ghana’s territorial borders, then I will plead with you incessantly to begin to do that NOW! There’s an urgent need to make the campaign for PEACE sacrosanct, especially as we count double digits to the most crucial referendum in Ghana’s history. This is because we have come to the turf of the fiercest political tag-of-war. The situation we find ourselves in has never been in our political history. We are in what I will describe as “political HIGH blood pressure”. Yes. I said HIGH blood pressure. Not just blood pressure. Blood pressure is manageable but high blood pressure is risky if not fatal. I call it political high blood pressure because of these reasons carefully adumbrated:
Firstly, a former president, who has tasted the sweet toffee or let me say honeycomb of political power have staged a comeback to contest a sitting president who fought all his life to ascend the highest office of the land. If you have never thought about it graphically enough, don’t worry, I will help you appreciate the situation better in a way you will never forget. For those of us you are familiar with coitus, it is like a romantic scenario where after going through the slow, soft, sensual and sensational process of foreplay to arrive at seconds to climax, you hear an incessant and desperate knock at your door. At this stage, you are tone between pushing in to climax and denying yourself this intense orgasmic pleasure or feeling. Put yourself in this situation and you will appreciate the political situation we are in now as a country. The two main players in the centre of our electioneering perfectly fit this description. The sense of entitlement, achievement and conviction of having been better managers of the country is mutual. The big question is, if they are both claiming to be so good at what they did or are doing, then why are we where we still are? Why does it matter who comes to power since they are both so good? Why do they have to try so desperately and deceptively sometimes to get us convinced? My brother! My sister! THINK!!! Truth is, they are all the same and it doesn’t matter who comes to power, if you lock up yourself in a room and tie their party colours on your empty head and shout their slogans from dawn to dust, gold will not fall from your roof. You will still be poor, pitiful and pathetic. Even if the All-Sufficient God comes down in the flesh to rule us, that will not happen. That is why you cannot endanger your life or those of others for the highly personalized ambitions of any politician or anybody else whatsoever. Be reminded of what Aristotle said, “No one is sufficiently interested in others.” Your destiny is in your own hands. Neither an NPP nor NDC political party manifesto can save you. ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN SAVE. Period!
Secondly, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has left many people worldwide, including Ghana paralyzed, petrified and puzzled. By no fault of anybody except for that of a tiny invisible microscopic organism called the novel Coronavirus, the world has been arrested, reset and restricted. Thousands of people have slipped away either into heaven or hell, families, businesses, companies, and institutions have been immobilized, and thousands have lost their jobs and sources of livelihoods. Many more are just hanging in there between frustration and fulfilment, between fruitfulness and falsehood and between faith and fate. The desperate ones are suicidal, the daring ones are sentimental and the destitute ones are in darkness. The highfaluting speeches of pompous politicians who speak as deities and sound like divinities only come to exacerbate the anxiety, anxiousness and expectations of people. The truth is, they are wells without water, don’t be deceived by any of their empty promises. Besides, behind every political manifesto is a cleverly manicured and scripted pile of excuses to convince you after the elections and fool you towards the next election as to why they couldn’t fulfil their promises and why you should vote for them again correct their mistakes or do more. Without a pinch of reservation and with the fullness of resentment am sorry to say politicians are professional and practising liars who frame as leaders and prey on the gullibility of people and yet solicit our prayers to advance their insidious and selfish aggrandizement. Don’t be caught in their intentional deceit. You cannot sacrifice your life in support of a political party. Even if you will, fair enough but make sure it is only yours and not the lives of those who are making conscious efforts to live and peradventure make a meaningful contribution to national development. In other words, the situation we find ourselves in as a country is highly volatile, easily combustible and discernibly ballistic. It is simply bombastic for someone to promise heaven on earth amidst the current global economic crisis where experts have predicted it will take a number of years for things to normalize. Therefore, considering the sentimental and frustrations of the masses that have lost jobs, contracts, family, friends etc., any little trigger can inflame passions, infuriate people and escalate into fissions that can boomerang into bombshells and naked ammunition to kill, or mutilate people and destroy our most cherished commodity in this country which is the peace we enjoy. Don’t let posterity judge you as one who cast the first or second or last stone to destroy what you came to meet. Hell will gladly receive you and cook your naked flesh mercilessly forever in unending torment.
Thirdly, if we were in the advanced, first world countries, with state-of-the-art security installations, sophisticated technology and reasonable independent systems and intelligence, nobody would have worried about peace campaigns and promotion. However, in our highly nepotistic, egocentric and political dependent and manipulated security system, with high degrees of clientelism and a patronage system, we have every cause to worry. Worrying is not enough, we must actively engage, entreat and ensure that the masses of Ghanaians are constantly conscientized and caressed to love peace because the absence of peace will leave us in pieces left to be pitied by the rest of the world. In short, our national security apparatus, our internal security installations and our technological, security infrastructure and human resource limitations do not retain the impetus to properly and impartially contain massive confusion and conflict. We should, therefore, work at maintaining peace instead of hoping to restore it when we finally and carelessness throw it to the dogs. Please be warned that peace lost will result in people perishing painfully. Don’t let us get there!
Fourthly, Ghana is one of the most ethnically diverse, politically fanatical, economically differentiated and religiously hypocritical societies in the world. Any of these differences can be easily exploited to cause an explosion. To explicate my point, I want you to think about the fact that Ghana has already existing fault lines of craters along ethnic, tribal, regional and sectoral lines. Politicians so drunk and intoxicated with the wine of political power sometimes consciously and unconsciously exploit on these frail areas for political expediency. I cannot be more explicit in this area than this. It is right before your eyes. Also, Ghana is one of the country’s where political colours determine possible placement, access to good jobs, important people, juicy contracts, and ostentatious lifestyles you can benefit from. Merit is a mess in the sight of politics, qualification is useless without political colours, experience and expertise are inconsequential without a party tag. The result is that people are manifestly and latently political, even state apparatus and institutions, chieftains and traditional authorities and even religious leaders and the media which is the fourth estate of the realm and should exercise and execute utmost neutrality, have all been dragged into shameless partisanship or else they will be neutralized if they don’t dance to the tune of the ruling government. People cling on desperately to political positions and claims no matter how nonsensical and irrational they may appear or sound. Objective analysis is objectionable in debates and deliberations between opposing parties. Fallacies are churned out as facts, lies are laid out as light and porous pitiful prognosis are hailed as precise, pragmatic and practical solutions. No one is there and will dare to stand for the truth. Even state institutions and religious bodies mandated to straighten and strengthen things are all hauled into these dirty pettiness, pathetic and perishable nonsense. What I am saying is that in Ghana, the only thing that can make or unmake you is politics. The only thing that can silence or make you shine is politics. The only thing that can give you a car you don’t deserve, a job you don’t qualify for, a house you have not built, fame that will cause others to faint is politics. It is not surprising therefore that people are notoriously and incurably political, to borrow Prof. Mbiti’s quote on African religion. So this political fanaticism and pervasiveness is a recipe for disaster. You can’t touch my political party because it is my doorway to everything that is good and pleasant. My party cannot lose because it will be tantamount to me losing out on everything I am and have become. Therefore, I will definitely and fiercely defend my party even at the peril of my life. I will rather perish pursuing politics than part from it. Politics is my life. My brother, my sister, THIS IS NOT GOOD! In this light, our only short term measure is to drum down the message of peace, campaign, compose and concern ourselves with ensuring peaceful electioneering and post-election peace. In the long round, however, the depoliticization of our institutions, youth, communities, ethnicities and values should be of paramount importance. If not, the continuous peace of this country may eventually elude us. We don’t pray for that. Again, in a similar vein, Ghana, just like any other country is sharply divided between the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor, the rural and the urban and the centre and periphery. The haves are inherently selfish, insensitive and inconsiderate of the plight of the have-nots. Truth is they seem to be oblivious of the fact that the continuous insecurities of the have-nots is an imminent threat to their continuous security. The fact that a mass of people have nothing to lose, feel deprived of their share of the national cake is a natural time bomb that will explode upon us one day. The fact that you live in East Legon, Trassaco, Airport residential, etc. while they live in Sodom and Gomorrah, Chokor, Jamestown, and the Zongos etc. should concern you. The fact that you watch them on motorbikes, keke or troski while you cruise in your BMW, Benz, Jaguar, Lamborghini, land cruiser, etc. should concern you. The fact that your children go to highly-priced and placed schools while theirs crowd themselves in dilapidated unkempt public schools and sometimes even under trees should scratch your ego. The fact that you feed sumptuously and shit honourably in your flashy shiny WC while they queue up at smelly God forsaken public toilets after eating hastily prepared, poor meals that causes their tummies to run should attract your sympathy. Hey Mr./Mrs. Rich man/woman your next arm robber, highway hijacker, phone or car snatcher, political party vigilante, ballot box snatcher and the one who will disturb your peaceful enjoyment of all the goodies you have toiled for and stolen from them is gyming in preparation for you. You sit there in your high mindedness while speaking verbose grammar in your supposed secured and gated community. They will surely come after you one day. That is another threat to our peace that we should not take for granted. We have to be concerned and campaign for peace as a remedial measure but in the long round strengthen our social support and welfare systems and make them more sensible and sensitive to the needs of our masses of underprivileged people.
Finally, we must not pretend as Ghanaians as if our ultimate referee, the Electoral Commission has performed its functions and activities without issues. First of all, by no fault of theirs, their planned activities were curtailed temporarily by the imposition of nationwide restrictions. Subsequently, they had to still insist on compiling a new register amidst the overt objection and apprehension of many well-meaning Ghanaians and civil society organizations in the shortest possible time. Thankfully, and contrary to the anticipated doom statements and predictions, the process was generally peaceful and largely successful. However, the exhibition of the new voters’ roll has revealed some anomalies which do not seem to augur well for our peaceful and incontestible referendum. Though they have promised to rectify these anomalies, the fact still remains that confidence in the new voters’ register is dwindling relatively, especially from the opposition side. I personally have confidence in the electoral commission to deliver a credible poll. My optimism is founded on the fact that there has never been any voter registration process in Ghana and in other countries where this process has been completely hitch-free. In the final round, there is usually a way out. However, the posturing of our electoral commission, the obvious and sometimes unwarranted contradictions from its staff and sometimes the apparent display of arrogance and seeming ignorance of some of its core staff leaves much to be desired. Truth is, the commission must be able to strike a proper balance between its cling to autonomy and its responsibility to be accountable and absolutely transparent to Ghanaians. If the commission fails in this regard, it will become very difficult for the parties involved to accept their verdict as a fair and impartial referee. The role of the electoral commission to ensuring a peaceful election therefore cannot be overemphasized.
SO WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?
Even though my discussion of most of the points include my suggestions of what can be done to maintain peace before, during and after the polls, I still want to make these specific calls.
- As a person of faith, I believe we have to pray incessantly for this nation. Churches, mosques and all other places of worship should call on God to look at this country with mercy and spare us any massive spill of blood and loss of lives. Faith-based organisations especially churches should pray and unseat every bloodthirsty principality that may want to take residence in this country. We must call on the throne room and undo every wicked covenant, contract and agreement that politicians have signed with the devil and his wicked agents to give human lives, blood and national peace in exchange for political power. We must secure the borders of this country against invading invisible forces that carry the drums of war. We must muffle and mute their voices from singing war songs and arrest and imprison them in the prisons of their own wickedness. Remember, child of God that whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Death and life lies in the power of the tongue. We must pray for the peace of Ghana for in it’s peace, we shall have peace. Churches, charismatic groups and intercessory assemblies should start now and pray incessantly. We must avoid our usual reactive and fear laiden prayers which only rises after we have seen looming and visible danger. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He will surely give us peace.
- Apart from praying, religious organisations should play an advocacy role. We must assign part of congregational worship time to talk to our membership about peace and the need to eschew violence in all its forms and ramifications. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If we flood the hearts of our members with the message of peace, they will be peaceful.
- We must individually become peace ambassadors, join peace clubs, design, curate and implement activities that will promote peace and foster brotherliness. We must all engage every media, social media, print media, electronic media, community-level engagements, etc to propagate peace and nothing else.
- Chiefs, elders, community leaders, assembly members, women and youth groups must all take up the campaign for peace seriously and stay out of partisanship in the meantime. The time is now.
- Politicians are the worst culprits. They must refrain from politically charged statements that are obviously denigrating of their opponents. There should be issues-based campaigning and not personality-based campaigns. Personal attacks, insults, insinuations and abusive language should be highly discouraged.
- The recruitment and deployment of party vigilantes, thugs and macho-men is a no-no. All parties should avoid them.
- The security agencies should be on the high alert and respond appropriately and impartially in the event of any trouble and not give room for people to think they are politically aligned.
- The media must be fair, balanced and cautious in their reportage. Sensationalism and the rush to report first without crosschecking facts will not help things.
The list is inexhaustible but I think the above is imperative.
We all owe it a duty to keep the peace of this country which was handed over to us. If we cannot improve on it, we certainly should not destroy it. We must keep it, cherish it, protect and preserve it. It is all we have. Remember the poor and vulnerable, the aged, disabled and weak. Consider the plight of innocent women and children and act responsibly.
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA.