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Ghanaians sang an enduring chorus with the rest of the world throughout last and this week, urging Nigerians to ensure that peace prevails in Nigeria after the elections. You can only hope that when it comes to Ghana’s turn next year, this controversial republic which is  worse than notorious for threatening Armageddon every election year will remember that another name for peace is “peace, precious peace.”

Every election year in Ghana is a real pain in the neck: There are always threats to blow up Kwame Nkurmah’s good old country on the west coast of Africa to fragments if the poll does not swing this or that political party’s way or that happens or does not happen.

There has been very little difference since 2000. In the run up to the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 elections without exception, one could quite literally reach out and touch the fear, tension and high voltage electricity in the air. Coming as they always do in the month of December, national elections and the fear, anxiety and suspense that come always take the joy out of Christmas.

I have warned that if we keep on this way, we could get ourselves one beautiful bunch of national chaos one election year!

Every election year in Ghana, it has become ritualistic for Islamic and Christian clergy and a whole host of peace-building civil society groups to literally crawl on their knees all over the electrified place, begging politicians, political activists and so-called party foot soldiers 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.

The last time round, the National Peace Council found it necessary, with a little help from a few partners, to organize pre-election peace marches simultaneously in all ten administrative regions of the country. Peace marches during electioneering campaigning, before and after elections may help in promoting peace but they cannot be substitutes for the collective national restraint in managing and resolving election disputes related to the conduct of elections.

While the Peace Council was busy organizing a peace marches the last time round, some politicians, political activists and party supporters were busy thumping battle drums as usual!

The ritualistic election year war drum pounding apart, another key threat to peace has been the tendency to cast doubts on the integrity of the Electoral Commission and the electoral process long before the election. Once the integrity of an election suffers injury, confusion and conflict can only result.

We have actually come close to real bloody chaos before: Machete, stone and club-wielding party supporters rampaged through parts of Accra and others besieged the Electoral Commission’s strong room and there was so much anxiety everywhere.

Do you reckon all that is really what will ensure peace and not collective national restraint in managing and resolving disputes?

As long as steps are taken to ensure total transparency, fairness and the absence of serial technical hitches, emerging from the next election in one whole piece and in peace should not be a giant deal. That is, unless it is the case that dark forces will comnspire to add Ghana to the list of ruination-bound African states if they lose or fail to win power.

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