The Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) has appealed to Ghanaians, irrespective of their social and economic status, to rise up and guard against any form of action that has the potential to disturb the peace of the country.
“It is high time Ghanaians demonstrate their abhorrence to intemperate speech and reject politicians and political parties that want to win or retain power at all cost at the expense of the peace and tranquillity of the country,” Mr Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Editor-In-Chief of the Insight newspaper, said.
Speaking at a forum in Accra on “Hate Speech and Incitement to Genocide,” he said Elections 2012 offered decent Ghanaians an opportunity to reject these politicians and political parties.
The forum was on “Hate Speech and Incitement to Genocide”.
He said late President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the other founding fathers of the country fought tirelessly for independence and peace in Ghana and since independence it had been the aim of his detractors to ensure that the nation did not progress.
In reference to recent hate speech by Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyepong, New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Assin North, Mr Pratt said decent politics was about making the economy to work and that elections were not won by the level of insults and intimidation that one could churn out.
He expressed concern about inflammatory speeches, the incitement of one tribe against the other and said “this is what we must all rise up against.”
“This language is frightening and it is important for us to wake-up and send a strong and unambiguous message to those who want power at all cost. We the people of Ghana do not want to participate in indecent politics,” Mr Pratt said.
He appealed to all Ghanaians irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic persuasion to resist any politician or political party that would want bloodshed in the country in order to win power.
He said the subvention of the country was not the business of only the clergy, the Ghana Bar Association, chiefs or the Christian Council but the responsibility of all.
He said even if some people were causing trouble at the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration Exercise, “there was no justification to incite Ashantis to take up arms against Gas and Ewes.”
“Ghana is one but not two despite the numerous ethnic groups and it is important to condemn any speech that will let tribes take action against tribes”.
Mr Godwin Adagwene, a private legal practitioner, appealed to the media to create space for voices of moderation and reason to advocate for good values to ensure that the people did not take arms up against each other.
He wondered why a political leader would advocate and educate his followers to go to polling stations with pestles and use them to knock their opponents if counting of results was not favouring them.
Mr Adagwene said what politicians should be interested in was how to eliminate schools under trees, equip hospitals and put pressure on the government to find solutions to the myriad of problems facing the country instead of embarking on the road to kill for power.
Major General Henry Kwami Anyidoho (rtd), a former Head of United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda, cautioned Ghanaians to be wary of radio stations that preach violence.
He said the mayhem in Rwanda was planned and well rehearsed leading to deaths of many and expressed regret that the same trend was being introduced in Ghana.
“We should stop broadcasting hate speech to Ghanaians since the nation was built on the foundation of peace and we must also train our children to know the essence of peace to ensure that the country remains united,” he said.