As patriotism requires, most musicians compose electoral peace songs each four years when Ghanaians go to the polls to either elect or change government, nonetheless, the lyrics of the songs which is actually the peace songs are very loose.
Monitoring our political circles carefully, one would note that the election peace songs craze emerged from the year 2000 election, an election that saw the defeat of the then over stayed political party-NDC, ushering in the over thirty years home away NPP into government.
Around that time, the most popular political peace song was one composed by veteran Gospel icon Yaw Sarpong and Asomafo.
The strong lyrics of the song coupled with pungent electoral footages made the song one of the best peace songs ever composed in the history of Ghana. Since then, election peace songs, usually produced by groups of musicians, both Gospel and secular artistes have been composed at the end of each four years when Ghanaians go to the poll to either maintain or change government.
Per the “follow follow” attitude typical of Ghanaians, this year is an election year and all forms of election peace songs have already been composed and enjoying much air play-both radio and television, all in the name of sending peace messages to Ghanaians to ensure a peaceful election. As patriotism requires, that is a good cause. Nonetheless, the lyrics of these songs which are actually the peace admonition messages to the public are too loose.
One listens to these peace songs and the messages are; “we're one people with a common destiny”, this election should be violent free”, Ghana is all we have”, let's pray for a peaceful election” and the like. In advance communication, such messages are described as passive communication and passive messages usually don't resonate with the receiver (s).
In advance communication, there are one of two forms of communication; passive and active. For instance, if you tell a person; “keep your teeth clean”, that is passive communication. But if you say; “brush your teeth three times a day with a tooth brush; that is active communication. The latter form of communication influences actions, attitudes, manners and believes more than the former.
“We're one people with a common destiny”….and so what? “This election should be violent free”…..easier said than done! “Ghana is all we have”…..and so? “Let's pray for a peaceful election”….prayer does not conjure peace; that is why the bible says; seek peace and pursue it.
These are all loose lyrics! Followers of NDC are steadfastly ready to ensure that justice prevails for their party to maintain power. Same is the opposition NPP followers ever vigilant to ensure their party comes into office.
To that effect, followers of these two political parties as well as the others (CPP, PPP, PNC, etc) are fiercely wild awake for justice so telling such people “We're one people with a common destiny” is like trading with words to relieve boredom. Asking them to pray for peace is like confirming what one reggae musician once said in his song; everybody is crying for peace but none is crying for justice.
Examining a road safety campaign song composed by Bice Osei Kuffour popularly known as Obour (now the MUSIGA President) some years back, one would note that his road safety campaign messages were active, loud and pungent.
In the song, he advised categorically; drivers should not drink and drive, drivers and passengers should wear their seat belts at all times, motor riders should always wear helmets, motorists should stop when the traffic light is red, drivers should not over speed or overload their cars, drivers should observe road signs, police officers should stop taking money from offending drivers and rather ensure they are reported for the law to punish them. In all of these messages, strong scenes were visualized to complement the message. This is deep message that clasps emotions.
My suggestion to the peace song composers is that they should obtain electoral dos and don'ts from the National Commission for Civic Education or Electoral Commission and use them to compose peace songs. Few examples but not limited to are: we shouldn`t tease each other on political lines, why? Because it could inflame hot tempers and create violence. No household should erect a particular party's flag on top or in front of its house, why?
Because such a house readily becomes a target for attack from a defeated party's followers. No person should attempt to vote twice, why? Because it could create fertile grounds for violence. No person should attempt to take away the ballot box during the elections, why? Because it could be a recipe for violence, amongst others.
The above should be considered and supported with strong visuals because the fact that we all wish for peace does not mean justice should not be ensured. Peace is not something we conjure; it is human activities that ensure peace or violence. Our election peace songs should be more active other than being passive. Until then…..MOTWUM!!
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