Citizens entreated to eschew political, tribal prejudices
The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has entreated the citizenry to eschew political intolerance and tribal prejudices and rather resort to utterances and practices that will ensure unity and national cohesion for accelerated national development.
He said the country needed strong institutions to build trust among the citizenry for progress, and not any form of bigotry that would cause divisions and thwart growth.
This was contained in a speech read on Mr Kan-Dapaah’s behalf at a two-day conference on: “Building an inclusive nation – Dialoging with Volta and Oti regions”, in Ho, the Volta Regional capital, yesterday.
Among matters being deliberated on are the Togoland Study Group issue, the concept of peaceful resolution as opposed to conflicts, multi-ethnic, divided societies, multi-culturalism and the quest for harmony.
Participants include traditional and religious leaders, representatives of civil society organisations, youth associations, academia and state institutions from the two regions.
It was organised by the Volta Regional Secretariat of the National Peace Council.
The conference is a follow-up to a series of dialogue sessions the NPC organised in some communities in the two regions in September, last year for it to understand the origin, nature and implications of the perception of marginalisation of the Ewe ethnic group.
It also coincides with the launch of a report on the meetings.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said at a time when the country was facing economic crisis, including youth agitation over limited opportunities, the threat of violent extremism and terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel, what the nation needed was sustained peace.
“Let us, as a people, recommit ourselves to dialogue and consensus-building in addressing our grievances. It is the surest way of keeping our people together,” he said
The Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, said the country was recognised internationally as an oasis of peace in an otherwise violent regional neighbourhood.
He said while the dynamics of the prevailing violence in West Africa might be different from those in the 1990s, they were still linked to the perception of identity-based discrimination and marginalisation.
According to Dr Letsa, claims of marginalisation in some troubled neighbouring countries escalated into violence because those who felt marginalised and discriminated against were not allowed to tell their stories and experiences.
The President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, said the free and honest expression of one’s grievances over ill-treatment by others was a vital step in seeking solutions to problems.