Last week, precisely on Thursday, September 21, the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council organised a lecture at the St. Mary’s Senior High School, Accra, to commemorate the International Peace Day.
This is an annual event the National Peace Council observes with events across the country to showcase the importance of peace and the fruits of living peaceful with one another.
The beauty of the composition of the National Peace Council is that it has permanent seats for leaders from diverse background and faith, i.e. Christianity, Islam, Traditional religions and so on. We have always had, since the inception of the National Peace Council, chairmen at the national level being Christians, clergy men and other prominent members as Muslims and other religions, and we never quarrel or have any issues over that.
The nature of the work of the peace council is such that we move in the light and dark. We often don’t announce our movements and peace building activities and initiatives in the communities when there are problems, except when it is very necessary. The peace council prefers to work with partners in silence and under low profile until peace is achieved.
We believe we have a role to play in preventing conflicts from happening, and we have the requisite skills, experience and manpower to extinguish it when it is in flames.
As I indicated in my previous article on the “Glimpse of hope setting in Africa”, it is common for any person to take the blessing of God on him/her for granted until that blessing is taken away from him/her.
There are several places and communities in Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad where food vendors cannot go out to display their food for people to buy because the communities are surrounded by bandits, economic, religious and political terrorists.
To think of a fact that some people can’t even roam around their communities freely and feel safe in some parts of West Africa is just enough reason for a Ghanaian to thank God for the blessings of fresh air and ability to purchase fresh and clean water anytime and anywhere in Ghana.
As I write this article, thousands of dead bodies are being given a mass burial across Ukraine and Russia.
Recent developments and situations over the change of democratic governance to military rule in some parts of West Africa must teach Ghanaian politicians all the lessons about the power of the masses whose inclination or disapproval of any form of governance becomes the prerequisite for a turn to military or civilian regime.
As we celebrate an important day, perhaps the most important among the international days, one is tempted to ask, “What does peace really mean to a poor and hungry Ghanaian who sees the current atmosphere and condition favouring only the political elites?”
Peace, to all of us, means the freedom to breath, live, pray and work for your future in dignity, respect while upholding our moral values without fear of intimidation, injustices on ourselves, families or loved ones.
With communication comes understanding, with understanding comes compromise and with compromise comes peace.
If any of us lose the above then one has a legitimate reason to seek justice through the court or a peaceful protest to express grievances, anger or frustrations. And if any of the means above does not yield any positive result, once again, the victim has a last choice to decide the future of the rulers through the ballot box.
I concur to the idea that regional peace councils should be visiting schools at least once every academic year to spread messages of peace and to inculcate in them the idea of peaceful dialogue and coexistence to pave way for us to continue living in harmony and tranquility.
Peace is achieved when we ensure that the concerns and welfare of citizens are guaranteed by the state or community. As the Quran says, “Enter into Peace wholeheartedly”.
The Quran again says, “O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you,” Quran 49:13.
Allah says in another chapter that “O you who believed! Enter into the peace, absolutely, and do not follow the footsteps of The Satan; surely, he is for you an apparent enemy”, Quran 2:209.
Peace begins with each one of us. You would be peaceful if you adopt peace as the only means to achieving results. It is in light of this that we should neither expect the political leaders nor the clergy to bring us peace. We must all be apostles of peace!
The writer is a member of the National Peace Council, G/A branch, and Executive Secretary of the Tijjaniya Muslims Movement of Ghana (TMMG). He is also a founding member of the Christian – Muslim Forum for Dialogue and Mutual Relations.
BY ALHAJI KHUZAIMA MOHAMMED OSMAN