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Feature Article of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

The Call for Peace; How I see it!

I posed a question on my Facebook wall yesterday; and the question was this; "Who wants to be cheated in life?" To my surprise, nobody answered in the affirmative.

Everywhere you go in Ghana, the word "peace" is synonymous with the people. This is an indication of the love we all have for our motherland. Peace is a pre-requisite for national development and as such every right-minded person would not underrate it.

But "peace" is not like a baby that could be delivered from the womb. It's something that could only be ensured by all stakeholders in our democratic dispensation. When the late Lucky Dube argued in one of his songs that we don't need peace, but equal justice, probably many people took his statement for granted. However, Lucky Dube was more than right.

Indeed, I was overwhelmed by the kind of admiration exhibited by my friends when I put out my profile on my Facebook wall for their consumption. I received both local and international calls from all manner of people, some I have not known or met before. I say many thanks to you all.

Folks, do you know something? Let me share this personal information with you. Out of the 24 pupils who completed Abodom Middle School in 1984, I was the only person that sat for the common entrance examination and this enabled me to enter Opoku Ware Akatakyie School (The School). The inability of the renaming 23 to register for the exams and proceed to secondary school was due to poverty. Even mine was a chance, which time and space will not permit me to explain now. It was not the fact that my mates were not academically good but their parents could not simply afford it.

My dear sister, Yaa Boatemaa had to sell some of her cloths to cater for my secondary education. It was against this backdrop that I named my eldest daughter after her as a way of showing my gratitude.

Presently, if I had been able to reach this far in life, what do you think the rest of my middle school classmates could have done or been, if other things remain the same as the Economists would say.

Today, my eyes are filled with tears anytime I come into contact with some of my friends in my hometown. Whilst some have become drunkards, 2 of them had committed suicide and I learnt another one had died on his way to Libya all due to poverty. The rest are without any meaningful jobs. There is a particular who looks after my cocoa farm and his family depend on me for survival. They see me as wealthy person and begin to cry over their circumstances when they sit in my car. I'm not trying to disgrace them on this forum but just to let know how precious talents have been wasted in my community.

I was therefore touched by Nana Akufo-Addo's free SHS policy for Ghanaian children. I saw it and still see it as the only way to give equal opportunity to children in life and the most sensible way to share the national cake. Since one of my sisters and her husband unfortunately died 12 years ago, I took it upon myself to cater for their 5 children. The eldest among them and one of the best nieces I've ever had died exactly a month that I left the shores of Ghana. She was married to Nana Arhin Duah of Kotoko fame. The 2nd child left the secondary school because of poverty and he is now a taxi driver. The 3rd completed SHS in 2007 and is now married. The 4th guy is now in SHS 4 at KSTS, and the last one is in SHS 2 at T.I. Amass, Asokore. I've been taking care of these kids in addition to my 2 girls and aged mum. The cost secondary education is known to you all, and I remember being caned and sent home for non-payment of school fees at OWASS. In the face of this, our counterparts in the Northern part of this country enjoy free education. With this emotional experience, I had no choice than to participate in this year's general elections, irrespective of the implicit and explicit costs involved.

I flew from London to Ghana in March this year just to be involved in the biometric voters' register. There was no other choice because ROPAL has been rejected by the NDC government. Again, I left my job in the UK to enable me come to Ghana in November in order to campaign for Nana Addo and Hon. Joe Osei-Wusu. The financial cost involved in these two trips is for your own guess. But that is one of the risks a man needs to take in life if wants to move his country forward. Nelson Mandella once said; "if you celebrate victory, you put the people at front and you take the backstage; however, if you see that your people are in danger, then you take the frontline so that people will see your leadership". I see Ghana being at the crossroads.

I moved from village to village and shared my personal experience with my constituents. I spoke on a number of radio stations - Fox FM, Okay FM, Ghana; Sankofa FM, Germany, Highlife Radio, US, Amansan Radio, Rainbow Radio, Power FM, Hot FM, Sources Radio, all in the UK. In fact, I can't count the number. I wrote over 50 educative articles and declared myself an "Ambassador of Free SHS" to let Ghanaians know the essence of the policy. On the voting day, I provided chairs, iced-water, and conveyed the elderly and the sick to polling centres. Therefore, if after all these somebody steals my ballot and perpetuate himself at the presidency, why should people expect me to keep quite over this injustice for the sake of peace? If John Mahama wants peace, why should he rig the elections?

I don't think I can forgive John Mahama for this daylight robbery and I don't think I will forgive Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP if they leave this matter to rest. I'm prepared to sacrifice my life in this cause, a cause that could nip injustices in the bud and ensure that our country moves forward. After all, Yaa Asantewaa, Tweneboa Kodua, Dr. J.B. Danquah, Nelson Mandella etc had to sacrifice their lives for their people.

If Ghanaians had wanted injustices to prevail in our beloved country, they wouldn't have fought against colonialism and slave trade. If Ghanaian women want peace, none of them would quarrel with her partner if the man was found to be cheating on her. What is wrong is wrong!

We can't be writing "stolen verdicts" every time. The time has come for the NPP in particular and Ghanaians in general to stop this illegality and thievery once and for all. As democrats, we are heading to the Supreme Court with concrete evidence to prove our case. Hopefully, if the EC's decision is reversed and Akufo-Addo is declared a winner, Ghana's democracy could serve as a legacy for the whole continent. But how do you gather your evidence when armed security officers ransack a party's office?

Although I'm not a Phobian, but let me borrow their motto once again to make my case useful. Until the bones are rotten, we shall never say die. This is a message for all Kukrudites and any patriotic Ghanaian. Let's all resolve to fight injustices in our democratic system, for an injustice anywhere could be a threat everywhere.

Thank you and God bless us all!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri

0202471070

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