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General News of Saturday, 21 September 2019

Source: Starr FM

Beat the drums of peace, not war – Peace Council to citizens


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This year’s celebration of the International Day of Peace has passed in the Upper East region with concerted strong calls on the citizenry to broker peace and not foment war.

Members of the Upper East Regional Peace Council (UERPC), traditional powers and school authorities made these calls at a public education forum organised on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the Kongo Senior High School (KONSEC) in the Nabdam District.

The forum is being held throughout Ghana by the National Peace Council (NPC) under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“Peace is crucial anything that disturbs peace disturbs the very foundation of human life. We have people who are warmongers. They beat war drums. And they benefit from ensuring that there is disunity. But the majority of us will beat the drums of peace.

“And this is what we are drumming home this morning, on an International Peace Day, for all of us to understand that it is important for all of us to do the things that are right that will provide peace, that enablement, to help us to move ahead to develop our society. Life is too short. So, the little time that you have on this earth, you use that time to broker peace, to ensure there is tranquility. And peace starts with a smile,” said Alfred Ndago, a well-known educationist and member of the Upper East Regional Peace Council.

Peace Council Chairman calls for Action against Hate Speech

The Peace Day is being observed globally with the theme “Climate Action for Peace” to highlight the threat of climate change on global security.

But, because the global efforts being made to address climate-change-related conflicts could end up being fruitless if the various ethnic groupings of society fail to appreciate their diversity as lack of inclusion causes conflicts, the region chose to mark the day with the theme “Strength in Diversity and Inclusiveness: Building a Peaceful and Inclusive Society”.

The public education forum went on with an emphasis on the need for all the various groups in society to harness the strengths in their diversity by seeing themselves as one for a common goal: peace and development.

“When a diverse society such as ours becomes inclusive, we become stronger and better prepared to take action against climate change. Let us, therefore, leave here with the right attitude towards issues of climate change, diversity and inclusiveness. Since we are dealing with youth, I would like to ask the question: what can the youth do to get involved regarding both themes— Climate Action for Peace and Diversity and Inclusiveness?

“Young people can get involved in many ways. They can be actors in raising environmental awareness, running educational programmes on diversity and inclusiveness, promoting peaceful co-existence, speaking out against hate speech, promoting sustainable lifestyles, getting involved in nature conservation programmes, adopting environmentally friendly practices and implementing climate adaptation and mitigation projects,” the Chairman of the Upper East Regional Peace Council, Alhaji Sumaila Issaka, told students at the Kongo Senior High School.

Why Peace Day Celebration was celebrated at KONSEC

Student riots at boarding schools have remained a threat to peace in the region, with a recent unrest leading to the death of a student and destruction of property at the Sandema Senior High Technical School.

On Friday July 19, 2019, the Kongo Senior High School was rocked by what school authorities described as a “major conflict” when boarding students from the Talensi District and boarders from the Gurune-speaking area of the region clashed on campus. The disturbances prompted an indefinite closure of the school and an abrupt end to the academic year.

The diversity and ethic nature of the midyear unrest at the school informed the UERPC’s decision to observe the International Day of Peace at the school.

“Currently, the school has a total population of about two thousand students, comprising students from different ethnic groups with about one hundred and sixty-four working staff also from different backgrounds. This school has achieved a lot of successes in sports and academia.

“It has, however, experienced some challenges emanating from student indiscipline and tribal issues giving rise to deep-seated divisions among students. This was once brought to bare when the Gurune students had a clash with the Bawku zone students. There have been other forms of clashes but these were not associated with ethnic groups,” said the Headmistress of the school, Gifty Ayamba.

She added: “Management is also putting structures in place to ease the mistrust and suspicions among students. Measures are also put in place to harness tribal groupings as a development tool instead of conflict groupings. Beyond this, we have disciplinary cases where sanctions are meted out to students who go contrary to the school’s code of ethics. We, as teachers and students, are going to take advantage of this programme to raise the image of our school. Kudos to the Regional Peace Council for this opportunity.”

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