The Minister of Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has told political science students of the University of Ghana, that political tolerance is an ideal principle necessary for strengthening Ghana’s democracy ahead of the November polls.
“As we journey towards November 7, there is the tendency for political parties to drum home, their ideas, while at the same time crucifying the opinions and beliefs of their opponents,” he said.
Mr Buah urged political leaders and functionaries to pontificate their political ideas and visions in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect for national good and stability.
The Minister was addressing a gathering during the Political Science Students’ Association week celebration at the University of Ghana.
The celebration was on the theme: “Political tolerance; an ideal recipe for consolidating Ghana’s democracy.”
He noted that Ghana has earned respect among the comity of nations because of its democratic history and the country’s respect for and commitment to the workings of the institutions of governance, borne out of democratic path.
“So the big question is “why should we fight, why should we resort to the use of the gun if the ideology we send to the market is not patronised?” he asked, adding: “This would only come about if we fail to recognise the key word ‘tolerance’ in our political discourse.”
He said actors might disagree on issues, the mode of doing things and even on personalities and institutions used in executing programmes and projects in respect of Ghana’s Democratic dispensations, but it is not a license to create a state of anarchy.
“Literally, once you do not accept other people’s opinions, you equally do not have any moral right to demand acceptance of your beliefs from them,” he said.
He said there is always a meeting point to resolve differences through political tolerance.
He said: “It would also afford us the opportunity to construct the roads and the bridges needed to convey our cocoa, the timber and food items from the villages to the ports and markets so as to alleviate the burden on our poor rural farmers without necessarily calling for reinforcement form the Ghana Armed Forces and other security agencies.
“Political Tolerance, as tested and proven, would always create the enabling environment for us to provide the requisite educational and health facilities for our people as well as to create the much needed employment avenues for the thousands of Ghanaian youth who come out of our universities and other training institutions every year, without necessarily calling for national reconciliation and reconstruction.”
“If we the politicians fail to dine at the table provided by tolerance, we put your future in danger; we cause a lot of pain and suffering to your mothers and younger siblings when the situation gets out of hand.”
Mr Buah entreated students to shun the company of people who preach violence, adding: “As we journey towards election 2016, my humble appeal to you is to exhibit peace and tolerance in all your deliberations, remember your future lies in a peaceful Ghana.”
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