Chairman of the Upper West Regional Peace Council, Rev Dr Aloysius Nuolabong, has called on civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media to intensify their collaboration with citizens in facilitating dialogue to enhance social cohesion.
He also expressed the need for concerted efforts in building a peaceable society through deliberate peace initiatives and civic education, particularly, ahead of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
“CSOs should form collaborative fronts ahead of the 2020 elections and start designing activities that will respond to emerging threats,” he said during this year’s international day of peace celebration at Wa in the Upper West Region.
As part of activities marking the Day, which falls on 21st September every year, the Regional Peace Council organised a forum with political party representatives, media, security agencies, youth groups, traditional authorities and heads of departments on its peacebuilding efforts in the region.
Dr Nuolabong said there were several “existing and emerging security” challenges, notably, chieftaincy and land disputes, armed robbery and theft, particularly motorbikes that threatened peace and human security in Upper West.
He said the region, in recent times, was experiencing occurrences of threats of terrorist, violent extremists attacks, violent communication through social media, kidnapping, youth drug abuse and trafficking and prostitution.
The influx of migrants fleeing extremist insurgencies in Burkina Faso into Ghanaian communities along the border, he said, “Is reinforcing security concerns and strains which needs to be addressed urgently”.
He expressed worry that growing activities of foot soldiers of political parties and political communicators was creating tensions and threats in the region.
Dr Nuolabong, “The groups are being used by political parties to provide personal security, project candidates and perpetuate violence against political opponents”.
He also raised concerns about rising drug abuse by young people and threats posed by illegal mining activities without due regard to environmental regulations.
He expressed the fear that the activities could eventually limit the region’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – six, eleven and thirteen.
The regional peace council was advised to consolidate its mandate of institutionalising dialogue and mediation to respond swiftly to conflicts and emerging threats in the Region.
The upper west regional peace council Executive Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Danyomah, highlighted activities of the council aimed at addressing the various emerging conflicts and also called for collaborative efforts from stakeholders including assemblies.
He emphasised the need for sustainable peace, saying: “Where there is peace people can learn and work, create families, give birth and raise children, travel and enjoy life as well as develop in material, spiritual and moral terms”.
A member of the regional peace council, Rev Bernard Anchebah, was optimistic that engaging peace actors often times, “We can ensure peace and walk towards progress, welfare and prosperity of humanity”.
The international day for peace is celebrated worldwide on the theme: “Climate action for Peace”, to draw people’s attention to the importance of combating climate change as a way of protecting and promoting peace globally.