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Teppcon Urges Northern Youth to Uphold Peace

2009-04-27 20:46:58
This article has been read 765 times.

The Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Conference (TEPPCON) has appealed to youth in the Northern Region to uphold the peace in the area, to ensure the political, social and economic growth of the region.

According to Ms. Agnes Gandaa, TEPPCON Partnership Coordinator, peace was essential for development, provides the opportunity to develop, and also enables the inhabitants to benefit appropriately from their share of the national cake.

She said, "Peace brings about healthy co-existence, mutual respect and love for one another, and also unites community members to be able to influence government's developmental agenda for the people of the region or district."

She was addressing youth leaders of the Sandema District in the Upper East Region on the theme, "Sustainable Peace for Sustainable Development: Challenges, Roles and Responsibilities" on Tuesday.

The training workshop was organised by TEPPCON, with support from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The workshop was aimed at bringing together stakeholders in the area to share experiences to help the targeted participants, who were selected from a cross section of the region, change their attitudes and actions towards conflict.

It also aimed at inspiring the youth to embrace positive actions that sustain peace and development, while encouraging active participation in good governance. Ms. Gandaa called on the youth leaders of the area, to view peace as key to development, and make efforts to help maintain peace in their area and surrounding towns, where peace was fragile, saying, "Bawku and Dagbon are the most conflict prone areas."

She stressed on the need for youth in places where ethnic and political conflicts were controlled, to contribute meaningfully to the peace dialogue in conflict areas as a responsibility, since conflict issues in the north affected the developmental agenda of the region as a whole.

In her view, even non-living things were fed up with the frequent conflicts in these areas and their devastating effects on the people and their property. She lamented, "instead of the youth and adults planning how and what to contribute towards the development of these areas, they are always planning retaliations and teaching innocent children to learn and maintain the same feeling and attitudes of revenge and continuous fighting."

She observed that there was the need for stakeholders in the region to discuss each other's contribution to peace and development, as a matter of urgency, at the various levels.

"Through a non-partisan youth secretariat, we must register our positive contribution to peace and social issues and other developmental concerns about our districts and regions, as well as hold joint inter-district and regional meetings on these concerns, to ensure sustainable peace in the north for sustainable development," she added.

Furthermore, she condemned recent attempts by some youth to demonstrate about some appointments of District and Municipal Chief Executives in the region, saying, "they could be right, but youth demonstrations are not the best way to resolve the issues in the appointments made."

Dialogue, she pointed out, was the best means, and further appealed to them: "please do not let us be seen fighting over it, but accept the appointment peacefully."

Also, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, noted that there cannot be meaningful development without peace in the region, hence the workshop was vital to help create awareness on the need for everyone to identify his/her potential and responsibilities in embracing peace, as a means for developing the region.

He expressed regret that the north had become endemic, and that had "indeed, diverted a lot of attention and resources that should have been channeled to productive ventures, rather than towards the management of these conflicts".

This, he indicated, made the search for lasting peace in Bawku and other flashpoints a challenge to all, since Ghana's democracy was thriving in a manner that needed to be guarded jealously.

He urged the participants to discuss and identify potential sources of conflicts in their communities, stressing, "It is only when you are armed with information on the potential sources of conflict that you can attempt to nip them in the bud before they escalate. It is my greatest conviction that by this way, we can collectively sustain the peace that we desire for sustainable development."

The Senior Programme Manager of KAS, Mr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, also pointed out that Ghana, as a developing country, was confronted with several structural development difficulties such as unfair trade systems, minimal human capital, diseases, general health challenges, extreme forms of poverty and natural disasters.

Thus, there were more than enough constraints and difficulties for the government to address, and against this background, 'it is therefore sickening to hear and see destructions at unimaginable magnitude made to public and private property with the least provocation."

According to him, "this unpardonable behaviour must be condemned by all well-meaning Ghanaians, irrespective of political persuasions and orientation," adding, "the people of the three northern regions have had more than enough share of the manifestations and the negative effects of conflicts in the country. It is therefore time we all agreed to say enough is enough."
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He blamed the youth for having allowed politicians and leaders to exploit them to accomplish parochial interests that have had negative impacts on the socio-economic development of the people, hence KAS and TEPPCON's resolve to implement the programme on peace to sensitise the youth and equip them to confront leaders who incite conflict.

Mr. Owusu-Mensah urged the youth to be discerning in their efforts, in order to resist egoistic aspirations of selfish politicians, be disciplined and hard working, since these were important tools in life to achieve their objectives and desired career.


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