Party foot soldiers armed by politicians to attack their opponents could become the country’s internal terrorists of the future, the Member of Parliament for the Ablekuma West Constituency, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has warned.
“Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, Boko Haram and ISIS are stark reminders of the fact that the foot soldiers we resource and encourage to attack our opponents today may well become the internal terrorists of tomorrow,” she said in a valedictory speech at the joint graduation ceremony of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was adjudged the Overall Best Student in the 2014 Executive Master’s programme in Conflict, Peace and Security.
Given her exposure to the immediate threats to peace and security, she pledged to be “an agent of peace and security and not provoke or flirt with violence and instability.”
The vociferous New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP’s statement comes on the heels of the decision by the police to disband political vigilante groups in the country in the aftermath of the violence and intimidation that characterised the Talensi by-election in the Upper East Region.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful observed that such actions often had unintended long-term consequences and that the violence that characterised the Talensi by-election must never be allowed to happen.
“Those of us who have a voice and influence have a duty to be agents of stability, voices of reason and heralds of peace. We have to pull our nation back from the brink [of conflict?] and build bridges across all divides, even to our natural opponents. We can’t continue like this,” she added.
She drew attention to the challenges posed by the ever-increasing cyber-attacks, citing the hacking of government websites recently as a small reminder of it.
“The next time an employee uses flash drive to download confidential company data, think about where it could possibly end up. Even in the presidency and MDAs, officers use their yahoo and Gmail addresses to send and receive official communications and use personal laptops for official work. How safe is that? We are willfully blind to it,” she added.
One hundred and one students graduated with Master of Arts in Conflict, Peace and Security, Master of Arts in Gender, Peace and Security and Executive Master’s in Conflict, Peace and Security.
While Mr Sidney Koby Adika emerged the Overall Best Student in the Master of Arts in Conflict, Peace and Security programme, the Overall Best Student in the Master of Arts in Gender, Peace and Security went to Ms Gertrude Chelagat Chelimo from Kenya.
Among some of the personalities who graduated with Executive Master’s in Conflict, Peace and Security was the National Security Advisor, Mr Baba Issifu Kamara; a former Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka; the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, and the Volta Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso.
Veep applauds KAIPTC
The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, who was the guest speaker for the occasion, observed that through KAIPTC, Africa was building capacity for peace and security management on a continent that was plagued with varied conflicts.
He stated that the security challenges on the African continent were many and complex, so innovation and heightened sense of wisdom were required to deal with them, since the actors were being motivated by a number of factors including elections, ethnicity and religious extremism.
He, therefore, urged the graduates not to rest on their oars but use the knowledge acquired to create change and improve lives on the continent.
He said Ghana’s economic challenges notwithstanding, the government was making efforts through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to support the centre and provide all the logistics needed for the completion of on-going KAIPTC academic block.
The vice-president commended the centre for blending military and academic culture to produce brains to deal with Africa’s security threats.
Give recognition to women
The General Counsel of Kennesaw State University in the United States and a special guest speaker for the occasion, Dr Flora Divine, advocated that women should be given the mandate to work with the men to help deal with the security threats that had engulfed the continent.
“Peace is not simply the absence of war. We must wage peace as vigilantly as we wage war; therefore, the empowerment of women is the central point of peace,” she added.
The Commandant of KAIPTC, Major General Obed Akwa, said the centre had established itself as one among few institutions on the continent to specialise in building high-level expertise on issues related to peace and security.
He said the ECOWAS sub-region was confronted with security threats such as piracy, financial fraud, terrorism, human trafficking, narcotics and election-related violence and needed highly qualified expertise to address them.
The Deputy Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Dr Phillip Osei, advised the graduates to fill their minds with more innovative ideas to help address the security issues confronting the sub-region.
Source: Daily Graphic
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