"Fear, Violence No Options To Peace"

The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, has rallied the nation to reject violence and instead embrace peace. Dr. Akwetey says there is a threat of fear and violence over the nation as it awaits the verdict of the Supreme Court on the election petition challenging the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, warning also that the path of violence will not bring peace. He was speaking at the National Peace Summit - a conversation to kick into motion the foundations, institutions and leadership that help Ghana keep to the path of peace and bind her people as one unit - in Accra on the theme: “Justice, Peace and Reforms will strengthen Ghana,” Drawing from the lessons and binding engagements of a similar undertaking built into managing the pre-2012 general election tensions, Dr. Akwetey said we are in a situation that demands that the leadership that always lead us to choices that bring peace to the nation has to work. “And they would work only if we gather together and tell the whole nation that fear is not an option as violence is not an option. But democracy is work, we talk to ourselves to find solutions to our problems.” The National Peace Summit is an initiative of the National Peace Council (NPC), the Manhyia Palace, the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) and the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG). Dr. Akwetey said the fear of violence after the court decision is gaining ground, however the great heritage of good leadership and peaceful choices should inspire and reassure all that peace will win. The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Emmanuel Asante Antwi reiterated the need for Ghanaians to choose and walk the path of peace, saying a united and common purpose approach to solving challenges will bring us victory over the anxiety that has gripped the nation as it counts the days to the ultimate decision. He said the source of the anxiety may not be farfetched as it is the first time that such a direct challenge has been brought to bear on the election of a candidate as president in the current democratic dispensation as provided for in the 1992 constitution. “To some it is a worrisome event. To others it a test of our democracy, our constitution, the institutions set up under our constitution and the people who operate our institutions and the readiness of the entire nation to take up the challenges that democracy brings. To the unprepared, such challenges may appear to contain the seeds of disintegration, but these need not be so.” He said every stage of our democracy experiment provides the nation an opportunity to come together, to review achievements and shortcomings in order to improve upon what we have built, correct our shortcomings and forge ahead in unity for development. Rev. Asante Antwi said we all have a duty, as individuals or groups, to ensure that the institutions, paths and directions crafted for redress and national cohesion work well and keep the nation together. The purpose of the summit therefore was to prepare the nation to take the unique opportunity presented by the election petition and make it a victory for our democracy, “a victory which all of us can share in.” He was particularly enthused by the commonness with which lawyers involved in the election petition, both petitioners and respondents joined forces to plead on behalf of New Patriotic Party deputy communications director, Sammy Awuku, when he appeared before the Supreme Court on the charge of contempt. Rev. Asante Antwi said that singular unity of purpose was sufficient to elicit a kind decision from the court and urged all to emulate that shining example to forge ahead in unity under any circumstance.