29.10.2008 Feature Article

Give Peace A Chance

Give Peace A Chance
29.10.2008 LISTEN

With just 39 days to go to the general election, the wish of every Ghanaian, the preaching on all platforms, in all homes and at all workplaces are the famous five-letter word, PEACE, which has gradually gained prominence in our vocabulary today.

If I owned a radio station, for 24 hours a day and for the next few weeks, my number one song for my listeners would have been 'Give Peace a Chance'.


As I started writing this piece, the famous song of John Lennon of blessed memory immediately came to mind, and it goes like this:


“All we're saying is to give peace a chance”. Yes, Ghana is on her knees and is begging all those who are chanting politics of divisiveness to give peace the topmost priority in our beloved country during the December polls.

The high concern shown by Ghanaians in the preservation of peace at this time in our nation's history has brought to the fore the formation of a number of 'peace associations'; their mission is one — that our politicians and their activists should remember the peaceful nature of the people they want to serve.

From all walks of life, we have taken on the baton to preach peace before, during and after the elections.


It looks to me that one of the key activities of most groupings in Ghana today is to use every opportunity to highlight peace.


 Then there are all those innovative ways individuals and groups have adopted to carry their messages across the length and breadth of Ghana. The list of those on the peace march is indeed tall.

Kudos to the 'Peace Train' of the United Ghana Artistes for Peace (UGAP) who are touring the country with musical concerts aimed at promoting through music, peace before, during and after the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

I am told that in some churches, members of the congregation have formed prayer groups to purposely pray for peace and unity in our nation; they also make sure that they meet on a weekly basis to pray for Mother Ghana.

A few Sundays ago, the Christian Council of Ghana organised an inter-denominational service at the Independence Square in Accra to pray for peace. Many prominent citizens, including President John Kufuor and some of the presidential aspirants attended the service.

Meanwhile, all night prayer sessions for Ghana are underway in some communities. Some pastors are also using the radio to dilate on the message of peace while praying for Ghana.

I believe in the power of communal prayer. Remember last year when Ghanaians, with all their hearts, poured out their cries to the Almighty God to fill the Akosombo Dam?


Oh yes, God heard our cry just at the time and some were even asking for the shut down of the dam to preserve the 'surviving' turbines.


 And what happened? The rains poured where they were needed most and since then, the water level at the dam has been rising and rising like an eagle.

I had never heard of organisations called the Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace (GCRP), The African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) and Religions for Peace (RfP) until some weeks ago.


These three organisations held a week-long meeting in Accra a few weeks back.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, underscored the need for all Ghanaians to insist on peace as the basis for all their actions as they prepared for the December 7 general election.


He said their insistence on peace would ensure that no one threatened the prevailing peace in the nation.

The peace message has caught on even with our foreign diplomats who have always looked to Ghana as a safe haven in the West African sub-region and indeed Africa.

The European Union (EU) diplomats in Ghana have also joined the call for a clampdown on illegal firearms as a pre-requisite for peaceful elections in December.


For the mopping up of the illegal weapons in civilian hands, the ambassadors of EU countries in Ghana also recommended a strong collaboration between the various political parties and security agencies.

At the end of a two-day tour of the Northern Region, the envoys noted that such a measure would ultimately help to ensure violence-free elections and encourage aggrieved parties to seek redress at the law courts, instead of resorting to the violent use of firearms to settle scores.

A Kenyan friend who visited Ghana for the first time last April simply fell in love with Ghana, especially Kumasi and the rich cultures of the people.

Early this month when she e-mailed me, she was praying that Ghanaian politics will not go the way of Kenya, her country.


She has been following the build-up to the Ghanaian elections and is hoping that the beautiful country and the people she discovered in April will remain intact even after the December polls so she can make another visit.


I felt flattered as a Ghanaian when I read my friend's mail. Peace, oh peace in our beautiful Ghana.

Anyone following the visits of the presidential aspirants around the country will notice that almost each one of them makes a conscious effort to pay a courtesy call on the chief and elders of the towns and villages they visit.


The significant thing I have noticed is that each of them calls for peace and invariably asks the presidential aspirants to caution their followers to resist from politics of violence. How beautiful is this!

One thing I have come to learn in my many years of service to a multinational company is that the private sector cherishes a peaceful and stable environment to do business in.


That probably is one of the reasons why the Ghana Investment Centre is said to be recording huge investor interest in Ghana these days.


By this time, the thermometer in most board rooms will be monitoring the political temperature on a daily basis.

I would not be surprised to hear that most board room meetings are starting with 'peace prayers' and asking for the politicians to give peace a chance so their businesses will continue to flourish in this environment which holds so many promises for future prosperity.

I love the initiative of Nestle Ghana, producers of Milo beverage and sponsors of the favourite Milo Marathon, which has caught on so well over the years and has given my Dansoman community some attention every October.


 This year's event, which was run last Saturday, was dubbed, the Milo Marathon — Run for Peace. Great initiative.


Since we are all calling for peace in our nation around this time, some of us were encouraged by the Nestle initiative and started training vigorously to join the race to show our support for their commendable social engagement.

We have one beautiful country at the corner of West Africa christened Ghana by our founding fathers.


We love this country that is brimming with stability and progress with a bright future blinking ahead.


We will want to see peace prevail in Ghana. Let us give peace a chance for our beautiful Ghana to once again shine as a model for Africa.


Our politicians, political activists, this is our story, this is our song, and this is our only prayer.


By Vicky Wireko

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