Why I Am Not Against War – By George Sidney Abugri

Everyone is out marching, Jomo. Marching? Yes sir, marching for peace. Everyone is out praying, Jomo. Praying? Yes sir, praying at the instance of the nation’s clergy so that peace, precious peace might drop right out of the heavens if she won’t come running to embrace a nation marching in a desperate search of her.

Two out of every three news headlines in the country’s major newspapers these days has the word “peace” in it. Everyone is running around, huffing, puffing and panting all over the place in hot pursuit of this invisible creature which goes by the name peace.

It is darned annoying, Jomo. Every election year we have to go through this intolerable nonsense: The psychological pressure on the people from ferocious and rabid politicians and political activists, the absolutely unnecessary high-voltage tension, the throb of war drums and the national chorus pleading with political politicians to let peace prevail.

Every election year is a real pain in the neck, Jomo: Coming quite close to Christmas as national elections always do, they ruin what is supposed to be the most sacred and joyous time of the year.

As for me, Jomo, I am well and truly fed up with these election year threats to blow up the good old country to fragments if this or that happens or does not happen. As a matter of fact, Jomo, I am withdrawing my own peace campaign. If folks insist on having a war, why, let them bring it on. Let us have one long, beautiful war so that folks might get a feel of the real thing, Yah?

From the concept of elasticity itself through Internet band width to human patience, everything has a limit: If you keep harassing the Holy Old Man above the stratosphere for something long enough, you just might get it, and like some of our regional neighbours, we could get ourselves one beautiful bunch of national chaos one election year if we persist!

Oh yes, it makes me as angry as Kofi Jack whenever lunch is an hour late. Nah, wait half a second, Jomo. I have changed my mind about dropping my campaign. Only big fools don’t do that! I mean changing their minds. It is the very last time though. Next war threat around, I am withdrawing my peace campaign for all it is worth or not worth, so help me Lord!

Besides, I am in distinguished company, Jomo: Islamic and Christian clergy and a whole host of civil society groups are literally crawling on their knees begging politicians for peace, as if peace were in the custody of a group of people wielding the power to burn us up if they were so inclined.

One peace group is scurrying around with a national peace flag and asking prominent personalities to autograph the piece of cloth. You reckon that will bring peace?

The National Peace Council with a little help from a few partners has scheduled a national peace march by hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country for early November, to be held simultaneously in all 10 administrative regions of the country.

Ahead of what is supposed to be a million man march of sorts in November, various other groups are on their own peace marches. Do you reckon all that is really what will ensure peace and not collective national restraint in managing and resolving disputes?

The ritualistic election year war drum pounding apart, a recent key threat to peace is the strong opposition to the creation of 45 new constituencies by the Electoral Commission.

Will Electoral Commissioner Dr Afari-Gyan stick to his submachine guns and proceed with the creation of the 45 new constituencies or yield to pressure from the NPP and other critics of the proposed exercise and halt the project?

Put in different words, will the elections be held despite the legal tussle and uproar over the E.C’s decision to create the new constituencies less than three months to a national election? The answer is a definite yes, unless of course it is the case that someone plans to start a Third World War.

We are speaking the language of the rule of law, Jomo: Opponents of the move to create 45 constituencies can avail themselves of the legal processes available to them to seek redress, yah?

A suit has already been filed at the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the creation of 45 new constituencies. The snag is that at the same time, Parliament is considering an ill-fated constitutional instrument intended to give legal backing to Dr Afari-Gyan’s controversial electoral project, which thanks to our chronic penchant for official bungling, has been so replete with errors that it has had to be withdrawn for re-wording more than once.

Enter a gentleman called Mr France, who has filed a motion at the same Supreme Court seeking to the stop the consideration of the instrument by Parliament. Mr France’s argument? Justices of the Supreme Court are on legal vacation and will resume sitting in October, by which time Mr France reckons, the instrument would have been passed giving legality to Dr Gyan’s new constituencies!

Some have offered a possible compromise: Let the Commissioner go ahead and create the new constituencies but keep them out of the coming polls until the next elections in 2016. By the time you read this, Dr Gyan would have told the nation in a televised address, exactly where he stands on this score.

With the peace chant rising above a crescendo everywhere, National Democratic Congress National Organiser Mr Yaw Boakye Gyan who is now swimming in steaming palm nut soup, could not have chosen a worse time to give his party very bad press.

Imagine the whole workforce assembling at the company’s durbar grounds and a much publicised secret tape which is played to the clear hearing of the workforce on loud speakers, has your voice calling the CEO a distasteful old coyote whose facial features resemble the backside of a baboon!

It may not be the most apt of analogical scenarios but that is the kind of discomforting situation the NDC’s National Organiser has managed to get himself and his party into, following the replay on many radio stations of a secretly recorded tape on which he is heard making peace-threatening statements.

He is heard on the tape promising party supporters government-funded largesse and recruitment as national security agents, in exchange for their loyalty and clandestine services toward securing electoral victory.

Now the opposition and peace campaigners are crying for the NDC National Organiser’s skull but hey, I am yet to hear of a poltical party in Africa that sacrificed or failed to protect a party organiser who goes to rather great if also dangerous lengths, to keep the party in power and whether calls for investigations into Mr Gyan’s activities will travel beyond breakfast.