Peace is a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between heterogeneous social groups. Benevolent leaders throughout history have shown restraint establishing regional peace and economic growth through peace treaties that resulted from de-escalating conflicts and multilateral and bilateral peace talks. Commonly understood as the absence of war or violent hostility , peace often involves compromise, and therefore is initiated with thoughtful active listening and communication to enhance and create genuine mutual understanding.
The contribution of dialogue in promoting peace and harmony in our state should not be trivialised or underestimated. It plays a hugely indispensable role in facilitating consensus, strengthening peace, building trust among and between our leaders, preventing election and political violence.
Experience in many parts of our globalised world has shown that although dialogue does not always guarantee success, there is sufficient evidence to show that the impact of dialogue always leads to lowering of tensions at different levels of society.
When citizens see their leaders talking, it breeds relief and confidence that all is well in our state. Admittedly, dialogue is not always able to address all the variables and the potential for conflict in a society, but it lays a solid foundation for seeking solutions to given problems. Dialogue requires adequate preparation, credible facilitation, sufficient political commitment and inclusiveness.
Complex political problems and deeply embedded patterns of distrust and hostility, such as what we are witnessing in our state, cannot be solved through one off dialogue events, but through a sustainable and continuous process.
Ultimately, we should work towards building a political culture that resorts to dialogue as the first response to rising tensions and misunderstandings.
It is the duty of all of us as Kogites and particularly political and civic leaders to invest in institutions that assume responsibility for dialogue and that enhance the potential for the success of dialogue. We should as a state encourage our leaders at all levels to treat each other with respect even when they disagree and to learn to sit down in a calm and thoughtful manner to discuss and find solutions to the many problems facing our state.
Religion and traditional leaders also have duty to help promote dialogue, using the existing early warning systems, help to bring leaders together and encourage them to embrace building blocks for peace. Blaming each other, using threats and name calling will not bring peace, but only entrenched hatred.
– Bishop Simon Peter