Nobel Peace Prize winner, Gbowee urges Ghanaian youth to refrain from violence during Election 2012

Leymah Gbowee (right) with President Sirleaf Johnson (left)

The youth have been urged to express their political opinions through the power of their thumbs and not violence and chaotic means.

“If you think you are poor now, political chaos would make you even poorer. If you need education, a failed State would certainly provide you with none,” Ms Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian Peace Activist and Nobel Peace Laureate made the call at a forum dubbed: “Peaceful Election 2012-The Youth and the Way Forward,” in Accra on Thursday.

The forum was organised by the National Youth Authority and attended by some youth organisations in the country.

However frustrated the youth might feel, she said they had to bear in mind that much national progress had been made in the past.

Ms Gbowee noted that often, when the youth within a nation felt frustrated at what they deemed as inefficiency within governance, they initiate agitations which often resulted in political unrest and chaos.

“Ghana has become a shining example of political stability in Africa. What you must do to keep this glory alive, is to ensure the stability of the nation, while at the same time, moving on progressively within a politically stable atmosphere.”

She urged the youth to use their knowledge and intelligence to make demands from government which are achievable and could lead to national progress, saying, “You need to know in detail, issues that are relevant to national progress, so that you can make realistic and achievable demands of government.”

Ms Gbowee said by so doing, the youth would be making themselves useful tools in the country’s political process.

Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice said with the youth being key players in the national process, it is important to ensure that they become tools of progress and not regression.

“We want to maintain the political stability we have achieved over the years,” she said, adding that one way of achieving that, is to educate the youth on the gains of a peaceful society.

Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of National Media Commission, said looking at countries that had experienced civil wars such as some of Ghana’s neighbours, “It is obvious that a nation could easily go from peace and stability to total collapse”.

He said the youth needs to know that the nation does not belong to any one in particular or any group of people, adding that Peace or war is a choice one has to make him or herself.

Mr Sarpong said no matter what stories were told to incite violence, the youth should make it a point to protect the interest of the State at all times by ensuring peace and stability, instead of promoting the interest of any particular person or group.

Mr Samuel Akuamoah, Director of Public Education, National Commission on Civic Education, said it is important for political parties to refrain from using the youth to incite violence and cause chaos.

He called on stakeholders to ensure a smooth political process, while the media had to bear in mind their responsibilities.

“Civic education is a shared responsibility and we hope that all and sundry would play their part towards ensuring a peaceful political process,” he stressed.

Source: GNA

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