Professor Samuel Marfo, a Professor of Conflict Resolution, SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, has called for a global war against hate speech before it destroys the peace of the world.
He said this must start by sensitising people to eschew tagging of others on ethnic, tribal, and religious lines among others and avoid name-calling that could lead to conflict.
Prof Marfo, also a Member of the Upper West Regional Peace Council, was speaking during a community sensitisation programme on hate speech and negative counter narratives at Lambussie in the Upper West Region.
It was organised under the Atlantic Corridor Project, being implemented by the National Peace Council and sponsored by the Danish Embassy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) across communities in the Lambussie District.
Targeted at resolving the broken peace between the Sissala and Dagaaba people in five communities (Lambussie, Koro, Dindee, Chognour, and Bognour) in the district, Prof Marfo c
alled on both sides to avoid hate speech and endeavour to respect the beliefs, cultural norms, and traditional governance structures laid down by their forebears to ensure a peaceful coexistence.
He encouraged the people to deal with individual and family problems appropriately and avoid making them the problem of the entire Dagaaba or Sissala people, which could spark conflicts among the two tribes that had co-existed peacefully for decades.
Hate speech could come in the form of words, images, and cartoons, which had destroyed the peace among people globally, Prof Marfo said.
‘The seed that you sow, you will reap the same fruit. Violence has never solved any problem in the world. So, we must guard against hate speech by watching our words and our actions because they can destroy even more than coronavirus,’ he added.
Mr Emmanuel Danyomah, the Upper West Regional Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, pleaded with the people to respect each other, be vigilant to pick early warning signs of hat
e speech, and deal with them appropriately before they escalate.
‘We don’t need to see violence before we learn a lesson. Regardless of the magnitude of the issue, it can be solved with the right approach.’
He said the Peace Council was to ensure peace and urged the people to have faith in its work and adhere to its advice.
The Reverend Father Dr Moses Banungwiiri, the Archdeacon of the Anglican Church in Wa and the Chairman of the Regional Peace Council, admonished the people to love one another and be careful how they boxed people together and treat them as one, noting that such actions had the potential to cause conflict.
Living in disunity could affect the development of the area and further impoverish the people, hence the need for the chiefs and opinion leaders to trust the peace process and contribute towards helping to achieve the desired results.
Members of the Peace Council also held a radio sensitisation programme on Nandom FM to drum home the message on the avoidance of hate speech and its re
lated consequences for peaceful co-existence to prevail in diversity.
Source: Ghana News Agency