Ho, July 8, GNA - Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, has called for a concerted effort to deal with issues of ethnic discrimination and exclusion to promote peaceful coexistence and unity for rapid socio-economic development.
He said the existence of ethnic discrimination and exclusion in the community albeit the current peace the country was enjoying could trigger conflict, therefore, “we must all work together to eliminate it if not reduce it to the barest minimum.”
Dr Letsa was speaking at the launch of National Peace Council's (NPC) community dialogue in Ho, dubbed; “Peaceful coexistence through inclusive society”, which aimed at addressing claim of discrimination against Volta and Oti Regions.
He said as a region, there were several diversities and commonalities and one such diversity was ethnicity which could be seen in some districts and municipalities, adding that it was a fact that the tendency for ethnic diversity to trigger conflict was high.
Dr Letsa said the quest for power and access to economic factors, admittedly, were two conditions that triggered ethnic discrimination, exclusion and marginalization, hence the need to develop comprehensive ways to address these conditions to engender inclusiveness with focus on truth and peace as watchwords.
“There would never be a peaceful community and co-existence as long as there is ethnic discrimination, marginalization and exclusion. This, we must try to work against at all times, and the dialogue is one of the ways to achieving that desired outcome.
“Although over the years, we have managed to live in some appreciable level of peace, we must not pretend that the issue of ethnicity and how it is handled could not degenerate into violent conflict, thereby destabilizing the peace of our communities, region and country”.
The Minister said a peaceful society or community was not one with the absence of conflict, but one that acknowledged that there would always be conflicts, and chose non-violent ways to resolve them when they occurred.
Dr Letsa said though there were different ethnic groups in the country, it was imperative that the citizens appreciated these differences and ensured that nothing prevented them from co-existing peacefully and working together.
“The discrimination and exclusion depend on where the centre of power is. It could be that the major ethnic group discriminates against and excludes the minor ethnic group(s) or vice versa depending on which group is at the centre of power. It is in light of this that we must use power to promote the interest of all and ensure peaceful co-existence.”
He said peace was a pre-condition for progress and development, hence his outfit's determination to promote and ensure that the prevailing peace in the Region was not jeopardised but maintained, and called for support from all.
The Minister disclosed that he was interested in the activities of the NPC as his vision of a peaceful, stable, united, progressive and prosperous Region with a high standard of living could be achieved through collaboration with the NPC and other relevant stakeholders.
He commanded the NPC for the initiative and pledged his support to ensure that the exercise was done successfully.