Peace and Governance Analyst of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms Melody Azinim, has urged institutions to work towards peace and inclusiveness as Ghana heads for crucial presidential and parliamentary polls on December 7.
She stated that building a nonviolent and all-encompassing society was fundamental in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which Ghana is a signatory to.
Ms Melody was speaking during a sensitisation meeting on ballots without bullets organised by the Greater Accra Regional office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
It was on the theme: “Promoting disbarment to build a safe, peaceful and more secured Ghana.”
“We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without peace or without building peaceful, just and inclusive societies and institutions,” she said.
She also noted that achieving the SDGs required addressing such factors such as corruption and poor governance, which give rise to violence, insecurity, and injustice.
“People everywhere need to be free of fear from all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives whatever their political, ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation,” she added.
“Providing sustainable job opportunities for the teeming youth is also important in reducing their vulnerabilities to be used as tools to perpetrate violence.”
She called on community and religious leaders to admonish the youth to eschew violence and rather embrace peace messaging as the country inches towards general elections.
“We entreat the security agencies and judiciary to take necessary action against persons who violate the vigilantism and related offices act (Act 999) to serve as a deterrent to persons who plan to use violence,” she added.
Mrs Kathleen Addy, a Deputy Commissioner of NCCE, said democracy offered a rare opportunity for losers and winners to contribute to national development, and therefore, urged both victors and the vanquished not to engage in violence.
“Burning and destroying property doesn’t solve problems…Violence set communities backward, rip families apart, and destabilizes the whole country,” she said.
She encouraged young people to keep away from any form of violence and love, peace by refusing arms, stressing, “The only way to avoid violence is to reject arms.”
Mrs Addy also encouraged the law enforcement agencies to show no mercy to people caught with arms as Ghana prepares for general elections in December.