AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Faith-based media united to launch appeals for peace in view of the October 31 elections

Wednesday, 28 October 2020 peace   dialogue  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - "After praying for peace on Wednesday, October 14, side by side, we are initiating common broadcasts to arouse in the members of different faith communities and in all Ivorians, liberating energies of peace to save the Ivory Coast", explained Fr. Eric Norbert Abekan, initiator of "Initiatives for peace". A project that he shares with Fr. Arsène Brice Bado, political scientist, professor-researcher at the Center for Research and Action for Peace (CERAP). A commendable initiative since the electoral campaign for the presidential elections on 31 October is marked by tensions and violence.
For two days, on 27 and 28 October, "Peace Initiatives" offered peace-related programs broadcast live by the country's religious media (Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Evangelicals) from the CERAP headquarters in Abidjan Cocody.
On the first day, the topics on how to reject media manipulation and calls for violence, and how to avoid electoral conflicts were touched. Themes led respectively by Fathers Eric Norbert Abekan and Arsène Brice Bado and Vincent Toh Bi-Irié, layman, specialist in electoral process and conflict management.
Speaking on the inaugural communication "good politics is at the service of peace (see Message of the 52nd World Day of Peace)", Fr Abekan indicates that: "we know that violence exists, of course, but at the heart of this violence there are men and women bearers of hope and therefore we must be aware of it and create conditions that promote a climate of peace".
Addressing politicians, Fr. Abekan invited them to create a framework for exchanges "today all religious confessions come together to pray, reflect, launch messages of peace so they too can meet politicians to say, let's see, do we really love our country and what is needed in dialogue to create conditions of peace".
The specialist in electoral processes and conflict management, Vincent Toh Bi, for his part, advised to avoid conflicts, to take into account different aspects of human life: the individual aspect which consists in the fact that everyone can refrain from committing acts of violence, from hate speech, and from rejecting and not accepting the other. Another aspect is that ethnic communities and non-national groups must continue to cohabit. Finally, the educational aspect, which consists in instilling values of peace in the youngest.
According to Fr. Arsène Brice Bado stressed the need to have a good concept of elections. "The election is not a war" but a method of peaceful selection of leaders on the basis of their electoral programs", he recalled. (S.S.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/10/2020)