General News of Friday, 16 September 2016
The Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), the Most Rev. Professor Emmanuel Asante, has urged the youth to protect the present, so that they can own the future.
“The nation belongs to young people. It is not the future that belongs to you but the present because you are not going to get to the future if you don’t protect the present because it is the present that gives birth to the future,” he said.
The Most Rev. Prof. Asante was speaking at the launch of anti-electoral violence rallies at the All Africa Universities (AAU) office in Accra.
The rallies, to be organised by the All African Students Union (AASU) and dubbed: “Students for Peace 2016’’, will begin on Thursday, October 6.
They are expected to be held in all the 10 regions, with the first rally being held in the Volta Region on October 6, while the final rally will be held in the Greater Accra Region on November 1 to coincide with the commemoration of Africa Youth Day.
The rallies will be used to educate the youth on electoral violence and its consequences.
Role of youth wings
“If you don’t handle today, tomorrow will not be there. And that is the reason young people should take up the commanding height of this nation’s political activities and ensure that there will be peace,” the Most Rev. Prof. Asante said.
He, therefore, advised the youth wings of political parties not to create confusion, saying, “Your job is to be vigilant to ensure that justice prevails and that there is transparency in the kinds of things that we do.”
While urging the youth to carry out any engagement of peace within the context of the law, he further advised them to allow the institutions put in place to facilitate peace and justice in the country to do their work.
He said the youth had every right to market their preferred parties to their peers, “but you must do so within the context of the rule of law. Do so respecting the views of other people”.
Bond of peace
He, therefore, asked them to maintain the bond of peace for the country, adding that the winner of this year’s elections would be Ghana.
“But Ghana will only win when, at the end of it all, we are satisfied that we have conducted a clean campaign; we have ensured that the elections are devoid of any attempt to rig,” he explained.
The Most Rev. Prof. Asante advised the youth who would be used as polling agents to be honest, faithful and work by the rules of their engagement and “let the nation choose its leaders; don’t choose for them”.
He also pleaded with political party leaders to provide leadership and not destroy the country.
He said the leaders should instill in the youth the spirit of patriotism that would enable then to do the right thing.
Pockets of violence
The political landscape in the country has recorded some isolated cases of violence.
To prevent the situation where such isolated cases could spread to other areas, the Police Service has mapped out strategies to beef up security in about 5,000 potential flashpoints in the country.
The Secretary General of the AASU, Mr H.E. Awaah Fred, encouraged the youth to resist any attempt to use them to perpetrate any political violence before, during and after the 2016 general election.
He said the youth should ignore financial inducement from politicians who might try to influence them.
He said Ghanaians should see themselves as one, irrespective of their tribal differences or religious backgrounds, in order to ensure peace before, during and after the general election.
“There is no Muslim Ghana and there is no Christian Ghana. Ghanaians are one people with a common destiny,” he said, adding that there was the need to maintain peace during the elections.