Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

2017 J. B. Danquah Memorial Lectures

OUTLINE OF LECTURES

Lecture I: THE LIE OF THE LAND

Peace and Security has been the concern of processes of community-building.  Roman coins carried the effigy of the incumbent emperor on one side and the inscription pax et securitas (peace and security) on the other side.  In today’s language we may define it as JUST PARTICIPATORY SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY.  The struggle for freedom from colonial rule was to enable Africans to take charge of their destiny in building JPSS.  Thus the theme of peace and security is in essence the sub-plot of J.B. Danquah’s life as “doyen of Gold Coast politics”.

In today’s globalized society, an ecumenical hermeneutic is a necessary method for discerning a vital, vibrant and viable society.  This inter alia means dialogue between the various parts and disciplines in order to arrive at a holistic vision of peace and security.  Hence, the sub-title an African Christian theological contribution. So, social and political economy need to engage religion which is part of the ontology and epistemology of Africans.

In the interests of length and coherence, this series will focus mainly on the Christian contribution, if for no other reason than that many in Ghana claim Christian affiliation (cf rites of passage), not to mention the church’s description as “guardian angel of African nationalism” (i.e. Ndabaningi Sithole).

Christian faith is not so much about dogma as about “the human in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), reinforced by the values of the Kingdom of God. i.e. truth and truthfulness, justice and righteousness, peace and reconciliation, compassion-mercy-kindness.  The Christian faith insists on constructs appropriate to the context (cf the Incarnation). That contextualization will be triologue between European legacy of political economy, traditional African values (cf nsare nsɔn i.e. Seven graces of the Akan, for example) and the peculiar and particular Christian emphases on peace and security.

Lecture II: FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING OF TRUE PEACE AND SECURITY

“Faith seeking understanding” is St. Anselm of Canterbury’s definition of theology.  This lecture will attempt to rationally delineate the particular Christian faith emphases on peace and security in the light of the challenges of the African context today.  In pursuit of the translation in the context of poverty, the hermeneutic of God’s preferential option for the poor.  (cf Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and Liberation theology) will be employed. The epithet “true” used of peace and security signals the reality of phoney offers of peace and security.

Lecture III: PEACE WITH SECURITY AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY

The Atlantic Charter, The United Nations Charter, the Arusha Accord 1993 etc. etc. are reminders of the general yearning for peace and security.  And yet those yearnings often learnt at great cost are also often honoured in breach Rwanda Massacre (cf ethnic violence May 1994) apartheid South Africa, proxy wars in Angola and Mozambique, inter-religious strife in Central African Republic etc. Violence regularly shortchanges peace and security.  Violence is not just a blow or a weapon of mass destruction; it is fundamentally what undermines the dignity and honour of peoples.

The foregoing thesis will be tested with

  • The plight of youth (of the role on ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, The Young Pioneer Movement).
  • Women who “carry half the sky” and their marginalisation and exclusion, which brought forth the Suffragette Movement and contemporary gender issues.
  • The role of power, corruption etc., in undermining peace and security because they shortchange solidarity of society. The lecture will conclude with some guideposts for the search for peace and security.