The National Peace Council (NPC) has reiterated the need for all Ghanaians to embrace peaceful co-existence for a sustained national peace and cohesion.
According to the Council, national peace, tranquillity and cooperation were essential ingredients to engender rapid socioeconomic development to better the lot of the people.
“Let us avoid things that will divide us, especially the youth, but maintain peaceful coexistence. Let us cherish the peace and avoid things that will breed conflict, misunderstanding and unrest,” Dr Kenneth Akins, Central Regional Coordinator for NPC has cautioned.
Dr Aikins, was speaking at a day’s Youth Activists workshop organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) at Essarkyir in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region.
The workshop, which was under the theme: “Empowering Ghanaians to stand for national cohesion and inclusive participation”, was aimed at equipping youth activist in the area on the need for them to see national cohesion as a drive for peace and sustainable development.
Making a presentation on national cohesion and peaceful co-existence as important aspects of national development, Dr Aikins indicated that for sustainable development to be felt at the community level, the role of the youth was key to identify root causes to conflict and find solutions for lasting change.
Dr Akins indicated that peace was an industry and therefore, it was imperative that no variable was allowed to discourage both negative peace and positive peace, particularly for countries that experienced cycles of violent conflicts.
“The relationship between peace building and development has been established over the years,” he noted, adding that there were so many threats that have emerged to disturb national unity, sovereignty and peace, which include unbridled desire of politicians to attain political office through illegitimate means.
He expressed regret over the activities of secessionist movements, which were filled by threats such as, ethnocentrism which according to him, was fuelled by “we versus them”.
“Today, the focus is on secessionist movement, but may be followed by other threats such as ethno-nationalism, which is fuelled by the enemy system theory, cronyism, nepotism and factionalism and politicization of almost every aspect of systems in the country,” he said.
He advocated for continuous sensitization programmes for the youth about conflict to prevent them from being used to destabilize the peace and tranquillity of the country.
Madam Joyce Affutu, Communication and Cooperate Affairs Director for the NCCE, applauded the youth for committing to national peace as the panacea for development.
She rallied the unalloyed support of all to contribute their quota in promoting peace, sustainable development and stand for national cohesion, cultivate the habit of participation in governance and remember that “there is only one Ghana we have and live in.”
Mrs Cecilia Dam, Ekumfi NCCE Director, in her welcoming address, kicked against youth extremism, saying it was an affront to the principles of the 1992 Constitution of the country and it was important for people to acknowledge that the tendency toward violent extremism did not emerge in a vacuum.
She lamented that socio-economic and political marginalization and disaffection of the youth on the African continent and around the world were catalysts for joining violent extremism, of which “we need to encourage conversations between people and groups who do not share the world views,” she indicated.
Mrs Dam expressed the Commission’s resolve to collaborate with the national security to educate the youth and encourage Ghanaians on the need for them to be ambassadors of peace.