The Bono Regional Peace Council organized a public forum on Thursday, 16th November 2023, to commemorate the International Day of Tolerance in Wenchi at the Assemblies of God Church. The event aimed to promote tolerance and encourage political actors to uphold peaceful coexistence in Ghana
In his welcome address, Alhaji Suallah Abdallah Quandah, the Regional Executive Secretary, emphasized the need for political campaigns to focus on issues rather than exploiting minor differences for political gain. He urged all stakeholders, beyond political parties, to join forces in combating religious and ethnic rhetoric in our body politics. Such practices pose a significant threat to peace and development of the nation.
Honorable Alexander Obour Damoah, the Municipal Chief Executive of Wenchi, also commended the Peace Council for organizing the forum. He recognized the timeliness of this initiative, as it aligned with the municipality’s efforts to promote and maintain peace and order. He highlighted the importance of education in fostering tolerance and unity among diverse communities.
Throughout the program, three presentations were delivered to shed light on different perspectives of tolerance. The first presentation, titled ‘The Christian Perspective of Tolerance,’ was delivered by Rev. Canon Martin Amankwah of the Anglican Church in Sunyani. Rev. Amankwah, who also served as the Secretary to the Christian Council and a former Council Member of the Bono Regional Peace Council, emphasized the Christian values of love, forgiveness, and acceptance. He stressed the need for Christians to understand and respect the beliefs of others as they embrace diversity.
The second presentation, ‘The Islamic Perspective of Tolerance,’ was delivered by Imam Mohammed Issaka from the Office of the Bono Regional Chief Imam. Imam Issaka, an Eminent Member of the Bono Regional Peace Council, highlighted the teachings of Islam that promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence. He emphasized that Islam encourages its followers to respect and embrace diversity, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and harmony.
The final presentation centered on ‘Political Tolerance in the Context of Multi-Party Democracy.’ Mr. Issah A. Nasagre, former Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Sunyani and a Social Development Worker, served as the resource person. He emphasized the importance of political tolerance in a democratic society, highlighting that the peaceful coexistence of political parties is paramount for national development. Mr. Nasagre emphasized the need for politicians to engage in fair and issue-based campaigns, rather than resorting to divisive practices.
The public forum on the International Day of Tolerance in Wenchi served as an important platform to promote and spread the message of tolerance in Ghana. The presentations from various religious and political perspectives provided valuable insights on the significance of tolerance in fostering peace and development. This event highlighted the dedication of the Bono Regional Peace Council and other stakeholders in advocating for a diverse and harmonious society free from religious and ethnic prejudices.
The forum’s attendees and participants left with a better understanding of the importance of tolerance and a renewed commitment to promoting peaceful coexistence in their communities. As Ghana moves forward, events like this public forum continue to play a significant role in shaping a nation that embraces diversity and upholds the principles of tolerance and harmony.
In conclusion, the 2023 International Day of Tolerance celebration in Wenchi provided an avenue for key stakeholders to address the importance of tolerance in our society. The event highlighted the need for politicians to focus on issues that alleviate the suffering of ordinary Ghanaians, rather than exploiting differences for political gain. The presentations from religious and political perspectives emphasized the values of love, acceptance, and understanding in fostering unity and peaceful coexistence. The Bono Regional Peace Council, alongside other stakeholders, will continue to work towards eradicating religious and ethnic rhetoric from our body politics for the greater benefit of Ghana and its people.