The former chairman of the National Peace Council has urged Ghanaians not to allow ethnocentrism to divide and hinder them from pursuing a common good as a nation.
Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante said it is important for people to recognize, respect, and tolerate the fact that people are different and still be able to live together peacefully without looking down on them.
“In tolerating our differences, we must also know that we can bring our differences to build the nation,” he said.
Rev. Asante, however, cautioned that “once we do not recognize that we are different and that we need to be tolerant with one another, and use the differences to promote the development of the nation, we undermine the sustainable peace that we need to move us forward as a nation”.
He spoke at the Bono Regional Peace Council’s 2022 International Peace Day commemoration in Sunyani.
The day, under the theme; End Racism, Build Peace, was attended by various religious groups, security personnel, students, political parties, and the general public.
In his address as the guest speaker on the topic, “Effects of Ethnicism on Sustainable Peace in Ghana”, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante said it would not have to take all the people of Ghana to be the same – language and way of dressing before the country can develop.
He noted that ethnocentrism poses a threat to sociality and threatens unity in Ghana rather than the fact that the country is characterized by ethnic diversity and pluralism.
Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene, on her part, said peace and security are a prerequisite to development, and it is not coincidental that most of the least developed and poorest countries and communities are also the least peaceful.
She emphasized the negative impact chieftaincy succession disputes are having on peace and development in the Bono Region.
She, therefore, called on stakeholders such as the Regional House of Chiefs, Peace Council, and religious and faith-based organizations to collaborate with the regional coordinating council to find lasting solutions to the issues undermining the peace and development of the region.
The chairman of the occasion, Okokyeredom Sakyi Arko II, paramount chief of Drobo, appealed for policies to imbibe in children the essence of coexistence, irrespective of one’s tribe, and patriotism.
He also urged Ghanaians to be mindful of what they say to people of different tribes.
Various other speakers and participants appealed to religious leaders and other leaders in the communities and other public places to ensure that no impediments are put in the way of people of a different culture in their desire to exercise their faiths.
They believe the coexistence of people in the communities would continue forever, and everything should be done to jealously protect it.
Citations were presented to various individuals for their roles in the promotion and sustenance of peace in the region.