Let’s preserve the ‘proverbial Ghanaian tolerance’

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Alexander Nyarko Yeboah – GITFIConline.com

Tema Dec 20, gitficonline—It is indeed interesting, that after a keenly contested election with reported cases of atrocities, the nation is calm with no signs of violence. The situation is more shocking in the sense that, after an election that has been so very much disputed by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), calm still prevails over Ghana with the only incidents recorded being isolated cases of demonstrations in few towns across the nation.

One therefore wonders whether this calm situation is for real, or that it is rather a cover up for disaster that looms in the dark, waiting to explode. The answer is no; there is no disaster looming, and nothing untoward would happen. This is perhaps the proverbial Ghanaian tolerance at its best.

Casting our minds back to 2012 General Elections when the situation was reversed, the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) resorted to the courts for redress when they felt the incumbent John Dramani Mahama had not won fairly, and after eight months of a legal tussle, the NPP accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court, laying the matter to rest without any violent drama.

This has been the story of the Republic of Ghana many years since her inception. A country noted for her tolerance and hospitality, Ghana has become a beacon of stability is a sub-region which has seen many wars.

In the full glare of everybody, the Republic of Liberia was torn to shreds through civil war, and for many years has been struggling to stand on her feet. West Africa can also tell of Sierra Leone which has suffered brutality that claimed many lives and destroyed the nation.  La Cote D’Ivoire has experienced political conflicts that have claimed thousands of lives, among others.

Beyond West Africa, Rwanda made history by committing a genocide that killed thousands of people and wrecked the nation. The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the gruesome murder of thousands of people in Uganda under Idi Amin, and even conflicts in Libya, the Sudan and other North African states all speak to how political intolerance could contribute in wrecking a nation.

But surprisingly, all the conflicts that have occurred in Ghana, from the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, through to the revolutionary days unto the fourth republican constitutional era, not forgetting tribal conflicts in certain parts of the country, have not been able to cripple the nation. It is therefore worth investigating into reasons why this West African state has demonstrated such enormous qualities in the face of conflict.

Of course, the Ghanaian tolerance has paid over the years. The average Ghanaian can tolerate excesses from spouses, bosses, colleagues, friends, subordinates, religious and traditional leaders, etc. such that, irrespective of what one does, there is always that sense of not being in a hurry to pick one on; tolerance would always allow the Ghanaian to wait until when it was appropriate to deal with an issue.

The Ghanaian is this tolerant because they are sensitive to the outbreak of violence. The Ghanaian knows the smell of violence and detects it from afar. It is clear that the current impasse between the NDC and NPP is a recipe for chaos, and, therefore, the entire social fabric of Ghana seems to be skilfully shifting away from the path of hostilities into creating a national discourse that seeks to promote peace and unity.

This seemingly peaceful attitude of the Ghanaian is born out of the desire to continue to be the ‘Black Star of Africa’ and an example for the rest of the continent. It means that, for the Ghanaian to descend so low into civil war and anarchy, it means that the nation would have come to a point where she believes it is no longer worth it being the kind of hope that guides Africa.

Yet, the rank and file of the two dominant political parties, the NDC and NPP, should not take this extraordinary quality of the Ghanaian for granted. This is because, all these qualities, notwithstanding, Ghana still remains a human institution with the ability to degenerate, like any other nation, if her strengths are over-stretched.

The two political parties should be careful not to coach their members to throw away the rich Ghanaian tolerant culture in pursuit of political party loyalty and desire for political power. This is because, as party faithfuls are called upon, repeatedly, to defend the actions of their political parties, they tend to forget that their parties and their ideologies are not higher than the nation and would begin to sacrifice the nation for the party, which is a dangerous precedence.

The peace and security of Ghana is more important than political power, and winners and losers in elections should understand that posterity stands to judge them should they allow themselves to be used to erode the tolerant quality of the Ghanaian which would make them pick up arms against themselves.

Ghana owes it a duty to herself, Africa and the rest of the world to remain that tolerant and stable democracy as her contribution to world peace and tranquillity.

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