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EDITORIAL: Election Peace Songs Won’t Bring Us Peace – Justice Will

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Once again Ghana is about to go to the polls and as usual, our musicians have started recording peace songs- with the musicians union of Ghana MUSIGA, strongly appealing to musicians to produce peace songs to preach peace to the populace.

Yes- -music is a strong tool or force that can be used for advocacy initiatives. I won’t contest that to some extent. For instance, in South Africa, Hendrick Verwoerd was the subject of a protest song composed by legendary composer Vuyisile Mini.

The song, titled “Ndodemnyama we Verwoerd” (“Watch Out, Verwoerd”) became one of the most popular songs in South Africa. Mini’s soulful compositions and booming bass voice led him to emerge as one of the most powerful organizers of the resistance against Apartheid. The lyrics of the song were action-filled! Straight to the cause! Directly to how Apartheid should be resisted by the blacks of South Africa.

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Come to Ghana – You listen to these peace songs composed every 4 years and the messages are: “We are one people with a common destiny” – who told you your destiny is the same as mine? “Let’s love one another as one people”—I state: “love has always been with humanity but we fight and kill,”
“Ghana is for us, we have nowhere to go” – – in fact nobody will come and ‘buy’ Ghana in this state! There are also some celebrities posting on social media platforms; “I’m…….I stand for Peace.” At least I’ve seen that of Shatta Wale and others.

The above forms of communication in those songs, I consider them PASSIVE – they don’t yield greater impact! To every effect there’s a cause and to every action there’s an opposite and equal reaction. Fact is – people don’t fight for nothing!

People don’t kill for nothing! None craves for violence and unrest for nothing! When the things that cause or can cause violence are left unaddressed, they enslave people to be violent! When the things that are suppose to ensure peace are not done or promoted, peace cannot walk and embrace us! Peace is not a being!

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This is an election year and the populace, have their respective parties they hope to gain or retain power. This desire in itself is legal, ethical, and democratic and cannot generate violence or compromise peace – but, if the right things are not done in the retaining or gaining of power, we should not expect peace nor preach peace!

As one reggae legend once put it, “Everyone is crying for peace, but none is crying for justice!” Without justice, let’s not expect peace. This is logical!Not long ago we all saw how presidential hopefuls of various political parties who were disqualified by the EC, rushed to court and created national tension of a sort.

You think they would have pulled out of court because of a peace song or if someone had told them to do so in the name of peace? You think they did not know their actions would cause tension and anxiety? They knew, but, they wanted justice! I believe to a large, justice brings peace. What can we do to ensure peace? A number of them: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

*We should not attempt to vote more than once, it’s illicit and undemocratic!

*We shouldn’t tease each other after election results are declared and one side wins – because, the lost side may act violently born out of anger of losing to the other side.

*People should not erect party flags on their houses during and after elections – less, they set themselves up as targets for angry opposing wings.

*Leave the voting grounds just after voting and if possible, confine yourself anywhere safe until the votes are declared.
*People should not allow themselves to be used by politicians to carry ballot boxes during or after voting.

*Don’t announce any election votes – that is the work of EC.

These and more civil conducts should be preached and or ensured during elections. The National Commission on Civic Education NCCE has failed woefully in this regard over the years – we pray they up their game!

The above messages, are what I expect to hear from our peace songs – not tell me that we are one people with one destiny. The above, can be well artistically composed and preached as a song and well interpreted with visuals to reinforce them! That is active communication! Message that provokes the mind! Message that re-orients minds!

All those who engage in violence during elections know the essence of peace but they still engage in violence – so calling for peace is nothing new to anyone. Peace songs won’t bring any peace – until the right things that the authorities or populace are suppose to do, are done!