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Opinions of Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Decorous language, dialogue and tolerance vital in 2016

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Ghana might have had a checkered past especially in 2015 when we experienced floods and fires, political upheavals that claimed the lives of some political activists and strike actions by some doctors and teachers who were also fighting to enforce their demands. However the beginning of New Year 2016 seems to benefit from appeals and prayers by men of God, politicians and chiefs for a trouble free and peaceful year leading upto the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held to chose the next leader for the nation. Come what may one out of the candidates such as President John Mahama of National Democratic Congress (NDC) , Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Edward Mahama of People National Convention (PNC) and others will be chosen. When the Convention Peoples Party, the Progressive Peoples Party and National Democratic Party come on board with Samia Nkrumah , Dr Papa Kwasi Nduom and Nana Kunadu Agyemang Rawlings, the battle for the Flagstaff House would be fierce. It is expected that the current regime would like to defend its economic, political, agricultural, energy, health and power policies. The rest of the parties wanting to come to power would also like to punch holes in the governance strategies of the NDC government under the leadership of President Mahama and provide alternative policies. To accomplish their aims, the campaigners of the ruling government and the opposing parties have the right to embark on campaigns on political platforms and radio and television and to some extent on the social media. However they must tread cautiously in what they say on political platforms and in the media. Insults, character assassinations and lies must be avoided during campaigns. Osagyefo Oseadeeeyo Agyemang Badu The Omanhene of Dormaa Tradional area has said it all when he called on activists of all the political parties to desist from using inflammatory languages during their campaigns on platforms radio and television discussions. Attacks on political leaders must be stopped , he said. He is right because political upheavals often begin with inflammatory languages by political parties. Instead of insults and character assassination, they must do with dialogue and friendly hostilities using subtle ways to argue and press home their views. Apart from the Chief of Dormaa, many chiefs and religious leaders have been down on their knees praying for a peaceful new year 2016 in the run up to the elections in November. Peace can be achieved through dialogue but the religious leaders must do more. It is advisable for them to end the conflict between them on doctrinal differences thereby tolerating each other. Their united stand can help them reach out to the political parties to also relate in peace with each others. The president said at the annual celebration of the birth of Prophet Mohamed at Fadama in Accra that Peace he is the common denominator for progress and societal advancement therefore he called on all religious leaders to hold on to peace. The National Chief Imam speaking through his Executive Secretary Awaiso Bio commended all religious groupings in Ghana for living in peace together cooperating with each other. He appealed to them to keep it up. The nation may be coming out of difficulties through load shedding for four years, with the cedi having depreciated to a low ebb affecting trade between Ghana and countries overseas leading to high cost of goods and living . The fall in price of cocoa, gold and crude oil has also led to low levels of our foreign receipts leading Ghana to borrowing more and more from the Eurobond and other financial set ups to meet our budgetary programs. In spite of all these Ghanaians are living in peace having been adjudged the sixth peaceful nation in Africa. Ghana placed sixth in Africa in the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI) and also placed 54th worldwide out of 162 countries sampled, scoring 1.840 in the group of seven that made a positive outturn in Africa.

The most peaceful nation in Africa is Mauritius which made an improvement of 0.013 points which also placed 25th worldwide in a study by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). We must remain peaceful and promote dialogue with each others in our communities work places our barracks and schools to be able to go about our work and political affairs in harmony. This way we would be in a position to shame the devil which works through people to create conflicts and wars. I trust Ghanaians are capable of scaling through the difficult times. So let us employ our God given fear of God, humility and love for mankind to deal kindly with each others. This way we would scale through 2016 with a better performance and a good story to tell about Ghana.

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