Founder and Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), Joseph Kobla Wemakor, has observed that the pattern of unconstitutional seizures of power in nearby nations offers a sobering reminder that peace should never be taken for granted.
According to him, the recent wave of military coups across Africa should serve as a wake-up call for all Ghanaians to intensify their dedication in pursuit of promoting peace nationwide, especially before, during, and after the December 7, 2024, polls.
“We need to intensify our efforts by coming out with awareness creation on peace nationwide.
I think it should be a collective responsibility; all of us has a role to play. The media has a role to play. CSOs has a role to play, the security services have a role to play, government, churches, schools and communities as far as promotion of peace, unity, understanding and justice is concerned”
Wemakor made this known during his second appearance on the esteemed Metro TV ‘Morning Rush’ Show to deliberate on the pressing issues of human rights in Ghana on Friday November 17, 2023.
Over the past years, the African political landscape has witnessed an upsurge in military interventions. Countries such as Mali, Guinea, and Sudan have seen their governments toppled by the military.
These coups disrupt social order, impede economic progress, and reverse the gains made in good governance and the rule of law.
The recurrence of these coups is indicative of deeper systemic issues, including corruption, mismanagement, and the alienation of youth and disenfranchised groups from political processes.
For Ghana, maintaining its reputation as a bulwark of democracy in the region is not only a matter of national pride but also a keystone for stability and continued development. The Ghanaian peace narrative has been a powerful one, framed through successive peaceful transitions of power since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1992. However, the tremors from the coups in neighbouring countries are a stark reminder of the fragility of any nation’s peace.
In light of these developments, Joseph Wemakor’s call to action implores all Ghanaians to fortify their commitment to dialogue, inclusivity, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
He stressed that to ensure the sustainability of peace, the Ghanaian government, civil society organizations, religious groups, and community leaders must innovate and implement strategies that foster political tolerance, education on civic responsibilities, and platforms for inclusive participation.
Involving young people is crucial, he continued, as they are frequently the most impacted by unemployment and are susceptible to promises of change, even if doing so undermines the constitutional order.
As Ghana inches closer to its highly anticipated December 7, 2024, general elections, there is an ever-increasing need for its citizenry to uphold and promote peace.
Ghana is often cited as one of the most stable democracies in Africa, with a history of peaceful electoral processes. However, the potential for political tensions cannot be overlooked, particularly as election fever grips the nation. It is in this context that the Human Rights Reporters boss has stepped forward to remind Ghanaians of their collective responsibility to protect the country’s peace and democratic gains.
The HRRG’s ED reiterates the need to avoid hate speech, misinformation, and acts that could incite violence or disrupt the electoral process.
Emphasizing the significance of a peaceful electoral process, Wemakor calls for concerted efforts among various stakeholders—government bodies, political parties, civil society, the media, and the electorate—to engage in peace advocacy.
The media, in particular, is urged to be circumspect in their reporting, ensuring that the information disseminated is accurate and not inflammatory. Political parties are reminded to instruct their supporters to eschew violence and to resolve grievances through legal and peaceful means.
The HRRG boss also underscored the importance of political engagement and discourse being grounded in policies and ideologies, rather than personality attacks or tribal affiliations.
He is of the view that the shift towards issue-based campaigning can mitigate the risk of conflict and encourage voters to make informed choices based on the substantive differences in the visions and plans of the candidates and their parties.