The word ‘peace’ is indispensable to any nation that desires to develop and attain the status of any respected country of the world. You cannot develop as a country for as long as you are not ready to promote peace, equity and justice among all your citizenry. In some instances you have some leaders who, for their selfish desire, create and whip action that has the potential of causing problems in our nation.
It is becoming a ritual that events before, during and after elections are shrouded with some disturbances so much so that many areas are tagged as ‘flash points’ in Ghana. It is unfortunate that there are some people who hide behind the cloak of political parties to cause unnecessary tension in this country. By the grace of Allah, this nation has been spared many times from the negative thoughts and machinations of these wicked people.
However, it is important we continue to drum home the message for peace so that the majority of the people of Ghana will work hard and guard our peace. Inasmuch as we can pray and act holy about the need for peace, we also need to change our attitude and embrace it fully. That is the only way we can be rest assured of total peace in this country.
The Holy Qur’an in Chapter 3 verse 11 states, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” This further adds value to the fact that we must all work hard and change our attitude. There are many instances where we hear of some persons in our Zango communities allowing themselves to be used as thugs by some irresponsible politicians to cause mayhem before, during and after elections. What is worrying is that, while the children of some of these politicians are cruising peacefully in their abodes and abroad, some of our brothers allowed themselves to be used for nefarious activities of these politicians.
More worrying is the fact that, upon winning the elections our brothers are left to wallow in their squalor. As a matter of fact, these politicians do not care two hoots about the welfare of these thugs. So why will anyone allow himself/herself to be used as a tool for destruction? If it is a noble act to cause confusion, why are the families of these politician not partaking in it? Do we need to be told why we must not engage in such needless adventure?
There is no nation that picks peace on a silver platter. It takes the concerted efforts of all and sundry to secure peace. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
It is important to state that, one has not committed any crime by choosing to belong to a political party. In fact, it is not out of place to encourage people to belong to any political party of their choice. The fact that we disagree with their choice does not give us the license to silence them! Ours is to tell the Ghanaian populace what our political party stands for and why it is the best alternative of the lot. It is said that, “there are as many opinions as there are men.” We need not agree on all fronts. In fact, it is not healthy to have all of us belonging to the same political party.
As citizens of Ghana, our prime concern must be the welfare of all Ghanaians irrespective of their creed, ethnic or political persuasion. As a matter of fact, when we develop this mindset of caring for the welfare of all Ghanaians, we may be lucky to have people who hitherto disagree with us politically, coming to our fold because of a particular character we have exhibited. It is important to state that, the majority of Ghanaians care more about how to take care of their families in a peaceful environment, for without peace there can never be any meaningful development in any nation. It is not in our interest to do anything untoward just because of an election. We must look at the bigger picture, the interest of this country and how we must all jealously guard the democratic dispensation of the 4th Republic which started in 1992.
As people who are conscious of their Creator, we must always remind ourselves with Al-Qur’an Chapter 76: 30, “And you do not will, except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” What this verse tells us is this, we may desire something but the choice of our Creator will reign supreme at the end of the day. Furthermore, there are many occasion where we desire a thing or two. But somehow, we are unable to meet such expectation. This is normal and it is meant to test our Faith as mentioned in Al Qur’an Chapter 2:216, “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.”
It is needful to state that many of our Imams have devoted time and space particularly the Friday sermons to talk about the need for the Zango people to behave courteously before, during and after the elections. We can still intensify on the message for peace and understanding so that in the end we will together elect our leaders and enjoy our peace. It is mind-boggling for a Muslim to allow himself/herself to be used as a tool for destruction instead of an agent for peace and development because the behavior of a Muslim must reflect the basic precept of the Religion of Islam, ‘Peace’. A Muslim must be in the lead whenever issues of peace and development are being heralded. That is where we should be devoting our time and attention to, so that, we will gradually be immersing ourselves in the true and objective principle of Islam.
I am amazed at a Muslim who will go gaga and berserk just because his/her political choice has lost the bid to govern this nation. We must understand that, it takes the concerted effort of all Ghanaians for peace to prevail in this country. More especially, there is the need for our Muslims brothers and sisters to live beyond reproach as far as issues of peace are concerned. We must not do anything untoward to mar the peaceful atmosphere we are enjoying. We must understand that, voting is our civic responsibilities. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana has granted us the right to vote in Article 42. Therefore, anybody who is desirous of ensuring that we entrench our democratic dispensation must vote. Your vote is your secret! You need not tell anyone who you voted for. We are also reminded by the Electoral Commission that, immediately a person cast his/her vote, the person should leave the polling station and may choose to come back after 5pm to witness the counting. However, your failure to be at the polling station at the time of counting will not in any way add or subtract anything from your party of choice. This is because every political party is expected to have at least a representative at all the 29,000 polling station that we have throughout the country.
We are still urging our Imams, Sheikhs, Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, and all people from Zango to continue with the peace message to ensure that our communities and nation at large come out victorious at the end of the day.
Lastly, we should all feel free to belong to any party we wish to and vote for our preferred candidate. In the end, Ghana must win and we can only get there by accepting the choices others make even as we disagree with it. Remember, Allah has already chosen who will be our next president and parliamentarians even before their parents met and got married. Ours is just to go and cast our votes so that the will of Allah will be manifest to the world come December 7, 2016. The Holy Qur’an Chapter 3:26 states, “Say, “O Allah , Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is all good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.”
By Tamim “Abu Salman” Abubakar