With the incessant high pitched choruses for peace by many in this country, I am reminded of a song by Peter Tosh, a Jamaican musician who until settling for a solo career was an instrumental part of Bob Marley’s band, the Wailers.
He begins his song entitled Equal Rights with the following words, “Everyone is crying out for peace, yes/ none is crying out for justice/ everyone is crying out for peace, yes/ none is crying out for justice.”
This in my candid view is a befitting summary for what has been happening in this country, in the round up to the declaration of the verdict of the election petition by the Supreme Court.
In as much as it is important that our nation remains peaceful especially after the Supreme Court delivers its final judgement, the truth is that some of the peace commentaries may not be helpful.
I recall vividly how the peace mantra played out in all circles during the December 2012 elections. There were bill boards, radio and television advertisement calling for peace.
Any foreigner would have taken the numerous “we want peace” and “vote for peace” as a popular expression of people’s preference for a particular candidate probably called peace.
The elections took place; results were declared and were contested. The country is awaiting the verdict and all of a sudden the peace mantra pops up again. Wherein lays the apprehension?
It is true everyone wants peace. Nothing indeed can thrive without peace as everything else falls apart when the shroud of peace is blown away. But there cannot be peace by simply holding fora, summits, conventions and meetings.
Similarly, peace cannot be achieved by simply causing people to be waving flags. It is much deeper and wider than that.
The foundation of peace is justice in its variant forms. Once there is a sense of justice and fairness, it would be close to impossible to imagine the absence of peace.
The commentaries from the politicians and political parties clearly indicate their satisfaction with the manner in which the court conducted its affairs.
The lawyers representing the various parties to the suit acknowledge with gratitude the skilful manner in which the judges dealt with the issues. The doors of the court were opened for all as the proceedings were telecast live.
In spite of all these, one still struggles to come to terms with the conclusion being drawn by some civil society organisations- thus justifying their peace campaigns- that the country may be on the brink of collapse.
It was not as though these civil society organisations advised at least openly the petitioners to choose the cause of action which they chose. The petitioners chose a forum to put across their grievance.
The other parties involved equally responded by doing what the law required of them. At this stage, does it matter if the parties come out openly to declare whether or not they would adhere to the ruling?
Is it not implicit that those who choose a forum and those who submit to that particular forum are unreservedly bound to abide by its dictates?
The role of the media in all these need not to be overlooked.
Aside the many calls for peace, there is also the arm twisting tactics of some journalists aimed at getting politicians and their representatives to give assurances that they are going to accept the outcome of the election petition. “I am asking you again, is your flag bearer going to accept the outcome of the presidential results?” one asked.
And the representative of the presidential candidate in response noted that they were not going to allow themselves to play on the terms of the other candidate.
The Daily Graphic in its coverage of the national peace summit on Justice, Peace and Reforms after giving a short background on the election petition noted “However, before the delivery of the final verdict, fears have been raised about the outcome of the court’s decision.”
This in the view of the newspaper justifies the organisation of such a forum. The question that stands immediately to be answered is “fears from where” and “from whom”?
Coming events, as it is said, do cast their shadows before.
If there were any threat to our security as a nation in relation to the 2012 presidential elections, then it would have been somewhere after the initial results were declared. The politicians at least deserve some credit for the manner in which they have conducted themselves.
The verdict of the Supreme Court would be the final word on this issue. There is the chance of a review.
It is only in these “peace” days that one hears people – although inadvertently – suggesting that politicians have the option to obey the verdict of the Supreme Court or not- by calling on them to accept the verdict. Certainly that is not an option!
May be we need to remind ourselves that this is a functioning democracy with institutions to take care of some of the security challenges.
Some of these peace summits and commentaries are certainly out of the abundance of caution. After all, prevention is better than cure.
And considering the disruptive nature of elections on the African continent, one is almost always left with the option of hoping and praying that everything turns out right- thus the need to take proactive steps.
But as it is said, too much of everything is bad. If there is anything worth focusing on during times like this, it should be our faith and trust in our institutions to deliver.
By Samuel Alesu-Dordzi / The Mirror / Ghana
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