Religion of Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, General Overseer of the Christian Action Faith Ministries has enjoined all Ghanaians to make a conscious effort to work proactively for peace before, during and after election 2012.
In a statement issued in Accra on Tuesday and copied to the Ghana News Agency, Archbishop Duncan-Williams warned that “Those who allow themselves to be used as instruments or vehicles of violence for money or recognition, will wake up on the wrong side of history. But those who become vehicles of peace and justice will wake up on the right side of history.”
"This underline the message of peace I have been preaching since December 31, 2011, and repeated on billboards and in the media," it added.
Citing how easy it is for a single person’s statement or action to lead to war but how difficult it is to return to peace, he said: “One man can declare war, but one man cannot declare peace”.
Referring to some recent incidents around the country which had led to conflicts, violence, bloodshed and deaths, he stated that “Posterity will praise those who promote and maintain peace, but posterity will curse and judge those who allow themselves to become vehicles of violence.”
Archbishop Duncan-Williams, who is also the Chairman of the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches, asked Ghanaians to be continually reminded about the horrors that befell previously peaceful and hospitable countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and La Cote d’Ivoire.
The Archbishop said “Peace is more than the absence of violence” and that “peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice”, he invoked the wrath of God on violence seekers by warning that: “Anyone who does not want a curse on their family from the cry of innocent blood must heed to their actions and whatever they say now, during and after December 7, 2012.”
Archbishop Duncan-Williams, who has preached a number of services on the importance of the number 12 contained in the year 2012, referred Ghanaians to the history of ancient Ghana, and suggested that the modern State of Ghana stood the risk of repeating history if her citizens forgot about the fate that befell ancient Ghana.
He noted that many Ghanaians, especially the business community, were taking Ghana’s growing prosperity and new-found oil wealth for granted. “Many businessmen and women forget that when there is crisis, conflict and violence, businessmen and women are the first to suffer. If you like, ask the market women in Hohoe, or the bank managers and store owners in countries and cities that have experienced recent violent conflicts.”
Archbishop Duncan-Williams asked the judiciary in particular, to realise that “Peace implies the need for justice in relations between various societies and an acknowledgment that people are of equal worth.”
He argued that in the minds of the ordinary man “Peace and justice go hand in hand as there can be no peace without justice,” and “Where there is no justice there can be no peace” and admonished the Judiciary to remain aware that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Notwithstanding the dangerous situations that have already begun to surface in several parts of the country, Archbishop Duncan-Williams asked Ghanaians to pray without ceasing, as God lives in each Ghanaian as well as foreign residents and visitors to Ghana.
He invited Ghanaians to be mindful that “The process of peace building begins at the personal and individual levels,” and therefore everyone, especially the youth who had all their future to lose in violence, should make personal commitments to non-violence".
Archbishop Duncan-Williams urged clergymen and women to unite to promote a common peace agenda for Ghana, adding that, "It does not help the cause of peace-building if men and women of God are perceived by the citizenry as not being uniting behind common goals, objectives, strategies and programmes, especially on a subject as basic as peace".
“Only when peace lives within each of us, will it live outside of us, for peace is not the product of a victory or achievement,” he counselled his pastoral colleagues. “Above all, if we want peace, we must fight for justice.”
For politicians who may feel that they must win an election at all costs, even at the peril of the lives of others, Archbishop Duncan Williams asked them to appreciate that “It is not the mere fact that you have won an election, but it is how you win it that matters most.”
He opined that “The task of peace-making and peace building belongs to all of us---politicians, priests, businessmen, market women, farmers, teachers, journalists, students, professionals, taxi drivers, and everyone else, young or old, man or woman, Christian, Muslim or heathen.
"If Ghana prospers, we shall enjoy together, and if Ghana fails, we shall suffer together. Let us all get involved in the monumental task of ensuring peace in Ghana at all times,” the Archbishop urged.**