For over 20 years, Ghana has grown to become a very peaceful country and a role model for many African states. There have been many tensed national elections with political parties going all out in the quest to win political power and be in charge of the affairs of the nation. The main political parties almost always go head-to-head with one coming on top at the end of the day. However, the games, tricks, propaganda and actions of supporters, industry stakeholders and the general public goes a long way in determining the success or failure of a peaceful general elections. We all want peace. In fact we need it! It is therefore expedient for not only the political parties or the electoral commission but for every individual, organization, industry and sector to play its part in ensuring a peaceful general election. This year, Ghana votes again for members of parliament and a President to guide the affairs of the country for the next 4 years. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website looks at the attainment of peace in this year’s elections and the role of Tourism & Hospitality stakeholders.
1. Hotels should not harbor criminals and should report any suspicion of foul play – All over the world, many evil doers and criminals hide in hotels to plan, strategize and execute their plans. During elections, it is believed that some foreigners are imported into the country to carry out many activities on behalf of some political candidates and parties. These activities range from ineligible voting to stealing of ballot boxes among many other election malpractices. As a major stakeholder in the hospitality and Tourism industry, the moment there is chaos in the country; Ghana will become unattractive to tourists which will in turn hamper the progress and development of this sector. Hotels and Guesthouses have an obligation to expose illicit dealings or suspicion of criminal activities that go on in the hotels.
2. Hotels and restaurants must actively participate in the education of the public and the spread of peace messages – Sometimes, we are tempted to sit on the fence and leave the education and campaign for peace to the EC and political parties. However, it is important for stakeholders who run public places where a lot of people converge or utilise to play active roles in the education and sensitization of the populace. Posters, flyers, banners and other peace campaign paraphernalia go a long way in reducing violence and election malpractices. Also, since almost every business venture is online these days and many have active social media accounts, regular posts on the need for peace and the effects of violence will reach a lot of people. At this point, we are almost there! Very close to having a largely peaceful electioneering process.
3. Authorities should liaise well with the media and ensure that they do not say things that will cause despair or panic – Anytime we get close to national elections, the media is cautioned to refrain from reports, publications and remarks which spark up controversies and instigate violence. However, this issue is two edged. The media has a role to play but authorities in charge of many tourism and hospitality organizations have a bigger role to play. The media reports on what we provide them. Sometimes, to sell the stories, they make it look very interesting and attractive with strong words and catchy phrases. However, during interviews, speeches and dialogues, if the people in charge of affairs of the ministries, tourism associations and hotels associations avoid derogatory pronouncements that may stir up violent acts, we will be just another step closer to having a Peaceful election this year. Watching what we say and when we say it just makes Ghana a better place for us all.