Fight against political violence requires sustainable efforts – Envoy

THE Colombia Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Claudia Turbay Quintero has said Ghana’s ongoing political dialogue between the two dominant parties aimed at curbing electoral violence, requires sustained efforts and commitment to be effective.

The ongoing political dialogue between the two dominant parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), was called at the instance of President Nana Akufo-Addo, as part of efforts to stem vigilantism and recurring electoral violence.

It is being mediated by the National Peace Council.

Referring to her country’s peace process that lasted four years to end 52 years of armed conflict, she said the pursuit of peace was not an event but a process of constant dialogue and willingness by feuding parties to restore peace.

“It has not been easy with. Peace does not arrive in one day. It requires constant efforts,” she said at a Colombia-Ghana conversation on democracy and development in Accra on Tuesday.

The forum was co-organised by the Embassy and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra on Tuesday.

The event ,on the theme, ‘Ending armed conflict through sustained dialogue in Colombia: Lessons for Ghana’ , was to afford Ghana the opportunity to take cues from the Colombian experience to prevent electoral violence as the country nears the 2020 general elections.

After 52 years of armed conflict that led to the death of an estimated 260,000 people and displacement of six million, the Colombian government and the left-wing Farc rebels signed an agreement to end the civil war through a process which lasted for four years.

According to Ms Quintero, dialogue was the right approach but the parties in such a process should be ready to settle their differences, forgive each other and press on for reconciliation in the interest of the citizens and protection of their human rights.

She noted that peace was key in development and must be prioritised by all.

A professor of international relations at the Universidad Del Rosario, Colombia, Prof Arlene B. Tickner in a presentation on the Colombian peace process said the four-year negotiation started in 2012 and was signed in phases and on issues including land ownership, drug trafficking and illicit crops.

She said although the peace accord suffered several setbacks, including opposition in a general plebiscite in 2012, the country persevered and was still resolving post conflict challenges towards achieving total peace.

 She advised Ghana to enforce its arms laws and put measures in place to ensure that the recurring electoral violence did not escalate into armed conflict which comes with devastating effects.

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of IDEG said although Ghana has not experienced what Colombia went through, it was important that the country took cues and guarded against such level of violence.

He expressed the hope that the political dialogue would achieve its aim and helped the country to maintain the sanctity of its competitive electoral democracy for national development.  


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