A peace ambassador for the 2016 general election, Mr Irbard Ibrahim, has observed that this year’s general election will be a test of the country’s resilience.
He said the frustration among the youth, rising political tension and the proliferation of arms in the country could threaten peace before, during or after the November 7, polls.
“It is a test of our resilience as a nation and our strength in such a critical moment, but I have no doubt whatsoever that we will be able to pull this off,” the peace ambassador stated.
He made the observation at the Fourth Republic Day lectures organised by Ghana National Union of Polytechnics (GNUPS) in Accra last week.
The event was on the theme: “Promoting peace and unity in election 2016:?The role of the Ghanaian student.”
An international security expert, Mr Ibrahim, has given the assurance that Ghana would remain peaceful if the challenges mentioned were addressed.
Mr Ibrahim said Ghana was a peaceful country so he did not foresee any state of armed conflict in the nation.
“God willing, Ghana would come out of November a much more stable and secure country. For election security, I believe we have some confidence in our history as a history of stability in the sub-region.”
He further stated that with the zeal to win the forthcoming general election, politicians would try to involve the youth, who are the most active segment of any society.
He added that much of the unacceptable conduct and instigation to violence perpetrated before, during and after elections were carried out through the youth.
He pointed out that most of the youth were being influenced because governments had failed them.
“As a country, we can do better to give hope to our young people; all governments have not got any deliberate policy to help the young people of this country,” he added
He said the unprecedented youth unemployment under the Mahama administration and other governments had made the youth vulnerable for everybody to use for his or her self-centred ends.
He, therefore, urged the youth to avoid all moves, secret or obvious, by politicians to influence them to foment trouble before, during or November 7 general election for their selfish interest.
“Cases of violent behaviour at polling stations, intimidation and brutalisation of electoral officers and ballot-box snatching have all been done using young people. I will not create job for somebody’s father by causing violence in the country,” he stressed.
For his part, the Managing editor of the Insight newspaper, Mr Kwasi Pratt, who bemoaned the state of the economy, said 53 per cent of families lived in single rooms in Accra.
“What we see today is not acceptable for any decent society and, therefore, the peace we want is the peace that enables us to replace this system with a better system.”
He said people were living on GH¢120 a month, while others were unemployed. “Many of our graduates from polytechnics and teacher training schools are staying home without working; graduates of our nurses training schools are staying home without working.”
The Rector of Accra Polytechnic, Prof. Sylvester Achoo, observed that a well-disciplined, focused and law-abiding youth could create a bright future for any nation.
Conversely, he said, a lawless, indulgent and violent youth posed a great threat to a nation’s peace and security.
He, therefore, called on Ghanaian youth to be agents of peace and order.