Don’t beat war drums – Cardinal Appiah Turkson tells politicians

Cardinal Peter Turkson

The President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, has advised politicians to desist from beating war drums ahead of the 2012 general election in order not to plunge the nation into chaos.

He said the electorate expected politicians to promote their well-being, pointing out that nobody was inviting politicians to mortgage the future of the country for violence.

“Let politicians stay away from the language of violence. Post-election conflicts are easy to start but not easy to stop,” the Vatican-based Ghanaian Cardinal cautioned when he shared some thoughts on local political matters with the Daily Graphic in Accra during a short visit back home.

When political tension rose to a crescendo after the 2008 elections and the nation appeared to be heading towards crises, Cardinal Turkson, as chairman of the first National Peace Council, played a crucial mediating role in calming the nerves of the parties in contention and ensured the prevalence of peace.

He said while at his new base in the Vatican, he had kept a close watch of events back home via the Internet and described signals picked from the political front as “saddening and distressful”.

Having personally come across the ravages of conflict in many African countries and the unpalatable circumstances in which citizens of those countries were living, Cardinal Turkson wondered why, with all those experiences, “people speak freely about resorting to conflict during the elections as if we are not learning from what is happening elsewhere”.

He said in many instances, those who stoked the fire did not stay in refugee camps afterwards, adding that when people got offended or hurt, even after reconciliation they still bore some resentment.

He said the essence of politics and elections was to promote the common good of the people and not violence.

Moving beyond local politics to global concerns, Cardinal Turkson stressed the need for Ghana to take full advantage of the positive aspects of globalisation, while shunning the negative ones.

He cited deregulation, the free market system and the removal of controls as some aspects of globalisation that were inimical to the development of Ghana.

He said much as the government aimed at wooing investors into the country, it was necessary for it to put in place regulations and controls to protect the well-being of Ghanaians.

Cardinal Turkson said although foreigners were forbidden to undertake retail enterprises, there appeared to be a lack of enforcement of that law.

Source: Daily Graphic

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