2012 elections to determine peace in disputed chieftaincy areas – WANEP
The West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP), has observed that the 2012 elections is likely to determine the peace situations in areas with chieftaincy disputes.
WANEP noted that over time, the dynamics in chieftaincy are changing along new political administrations and the increase of political activities, especially in Northern Ghana.
The organisation made the observations in its 2011 Annual National Human Security Warning Alert, issued to the press in Tamale at the weekend and signed by Mr Justin Bayor, National Network Co-ordinator of WANEP-Ghana.
It noted that the last quarter of 2011 witnessed an increase in violent tendencies among chieftaincy factions which were plagued with accusations and counter accusations of stockpiling of arms and installations of sub-chiefs.
WANEP said the chieftaincy institution is also plagued with debates over who had the mandate to declare the celebrations of cultural festivals and the threats associated with the celebration of funerals among other activities.
The organisation therefore expressed its worry over the threat to peace these situations posed.
“Chieftaincy related disputes remain the most serious threat to political stability, peaceful co-existence and human development in Ghana,” the network said.
WANEP said its alert system had indicated that a total of 13 chieftaincy related incidents or threats were captured in 2011, four of which were violent while nine were threats to existing relative peaceful situations in disputing communities.
It said one violent incident occurred in Dagbon, two in Bawku and one at Buipe.
There were also four cases of threats in Yendi, two in Bawku, two in Buipe and one in Bimbilla.
It noted that the violent cases in Dagbon and Buipe were reactions to hearings or rulings over chieftaincy cases.
WANEP observed that though low figures were recorded under chieftaincy disputes, thus implying low risk, the chieftaincy disputes in Bawku, Bimbilla, Yendi and Buipe remained the most vulnerable in terms of conflict risks.
The WANEP alert also noted that there were seven incidents of agro-pastoralist tensions involving Fulani herdsmen.
It said four of these were armed attacks and three threats of armed attacks on pastoralist adding that in these attacks 17 deaths were recorded with Gushiegu in the Northern Region recording the highest number of 13 deaths.
Dodowa had two deaths, with one of the deceased being a policeman, while Agogo recorded five incidences with four armed attacks resulting in two deaths.
In view of the various threats to peace, WANEP has recommended that the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs, Parliament and State departments and agencies should discuss these matters and come out with win-win outcomes to address the numerous chieftaincy disputes.
It also suggested that a national agro-pastoralist dialogue session should be organised to bring agriculturalists and pastoralist together to talk about how to deal with the rising tension among them in an amicable manner.
It also appealed to the government, international institutions and civil society organisations to increase the manpower and logistical capacities of the security agencies to respond effectively to violence, disasters and crime.
It called for collaboration among the security agencies, community members as well as the public to help curtail the movement of arms and ammunition within and out of the country.