EDITORIAL: Ghana Should Not Burn
Lately, a wave of communal clashes has been sweeping through portions of the country, disturbing the peace in some areas, leading to the loss of lives and property, displacement of people, a breakdown of law and order and seriously disrupting socio-economic activities.
In the Northern Region, Kokombas and Bimobas clashed over the ownership of a parcel of land at Kpamale, a village near Nankpanduri, among a number of other major conflicts in the north, and at Ekumfi Narkwa in the Central Region, clashes between the Ewe and the Fante communities over the murder of a clan head resulted in the death of two persons, injury to three and the torching of eight dwelling houses.
Even as the security forces and the political administrators work around the clock to restore normalcy to those areas, another violent clash has erupted in Hohoe in the Volta Region between members of the Zongo community, who are mainly Muslims, and the indigenous Gbis.
The latest violence erupted following the exhumation of the body of the local Chief Imam by some youth said to be indigenes of the area, an act that incensed the Muslim youth to resort to violence, vandalising a chiefs palace and setting some properties on fire.
The intolerance and lawlessness that have characterised these clashes are obvious, as in almost all the cases, nobody sought redress through the established procedures but rather chose to exact vengeance in his or her own way.
This development must, indeed, be a worry for all.
Year 2012 is an election year and electioneering in this country has been characterised by some degree of intolerance of opposing political views, leading to pockets of violence. This makes some pessimists see the current development as a precursor to a wider conflict that will engulf the country during the December elections.
Certainly, the government and all stakeholders must act quickly to halt these communal clashes and restore total peace and security in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, rather than anticipate mayhem, let us all work towards peaceful elections in December.
Let us uphold and play up the strong customs, traditions, practices and values that bind us together as a united people with a common destiny, for what bind us together are far more than what should divide us.
Our ability to bond, in spite of our different ethnicities, starting from secondary schools through to the universities, in our compound houses and at the workplaces, the beautiful and harmonious practice of inter-ethnic marriage among Ghanaians and the practice of migrants installing their own chiefs who become accepted as part of the traditional set up of the locality, are too valuable to be ignored.
On the religious front, this is the only country in the West African sub-region where both Christians and Muslims have their respective national holidays which are common holidays for both groups and which sometimes, are patronised by each other.
What more can tolerance mean but this?
We believe that Ghanaians saw the kind of hardships and agonies people went through when some of our neighbouring countries were plunged into conflict, especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
We, as a people, should not do anything to plunge this country into conflict before, during and after the elections as some pessimists want it to be.
Ghana should not burn.