Emulate Former President Kufuor in Handling the Bawku Conflict, Mr President

Feature Article Emulate Former President Kufuor in Handling the Bawku Conflict, Mr President

The conflict in Bawku is decades old conflict which predates Ghana's independence. It has brought devastating effects to the people of Bawku and Ghana at large. This conflict has led to the destructions of properties and loss of precious lives. We continue to lose innocent lives as a result of the conflict. Workers in the various institutions within the Bawku municipality are deserting their jobs for their lives bringing government businesses to a halt. It cannot continue this way. Something drastic has to be done and done well to bring a lasting peace to the previously vibrant and viable economic community.

We have seen many approaches in resolving the conflict but we are still where we are. Many well meaning Ghanaians and security experts have downplayed the military deployment to the area. They are of the view that, that approach cannot completely resolve the conflict but can only manage it. People have called for seize fire and dialogue, involvement of the national house of chiefs, mediation by eminent chiefs and many other conflict resolution strategies.

A lot of issues have come out with regards to the recent Bawku conflict. These issues, I believe, have brought out many historical angles and perspectives pertaining to the conflict of which well meaning Ghanaians can make deductions or better still form their own opinions on the issues raised.

During the 73rd birthday celebration of His Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in United Kingdom on 6th May, 2023, Mr. President, H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo made an appeal to the respected King of the Asante Kingdom to help resolve the Bawku conflict just like the Dagbon conflict. This is a right call that must come with satisfactorily and fairly created conditions and environment by government.

Let's cast our minds back and compare the current management of the Bawku issue with other related conflicts in the past by previous governments. How did successive governments deal with the unfortunate happening in Dagbon? Do we need similar approach in this issue? It is clear that we do not need any second opinion anywhere to conclude that the approach used in resolving the Dagbon conflict can be employed in the Bawku issue, however, it must come with impartial, transparent and decisive leadership.

First of all, when that incident happened, the then Northern Regional Minister who was a Dagomba immediately resigned and former president J. A. Kufuor appointed a neutral arbiter to replace him. Subsequent Presidents did not change the status quo in appointing respective northern regional ministers. Until the resolution of the Dagbon issue, no Dagomba was appointed as a regional minister for the region.

Similarly, in the case of the Bawku issue, the regional minister must be a neutral person who does not belong to either of the feuding factions. So, if Mr. President is serious in resolving the conflict in Bawku, first of all, he must appoint a neutral arbiter as the regional minister for the Upper East Region immediately. The head of the regional security council cannot be a tribesman of one of the feuding factions and still act as neutral arbiter. In effect, the current Upper East Regional Minister, who is a Kusasi by tribe, must be relieved off his post with immediate effect if Mr President genuinely needs peace restored in Bawku.

Another issue that hinders conflict resolution is mistrust and one of the issues that brings about mistrust and must be emphasized is government interference. The central government should be seen as a neutral arbiter without taking sides and for that matter government should take steps to gain the trust of both feuding factions. I sincerely believe that, Mr President, if you are determined to end the conflict before your tenure expires you can do it just like the way you facilitated the resolution of the Dagbon conflict.

The government on many occasions have called for the silencing of the guns in Bawku. The call for silencing of the guns is in the right direction but it must come with serious commitment and dedication from government. All government actors and stakeholders must be seen working to genuinely end the conflict but not acting contrary to that. Crime must be impartially treated as crime and without associating such culprit(s) with any factions. If the government mean to fight the Bawku conflict, the banditry will stop.

In conclusion, Mr. President, all your appointees who have made contemptuous statements with regards to the Bawku issue and the Upper East Regional Minister should be reassigned or sacked. They should not be given any role that will be directly or indirectly linked to the resolution process of the conflict at hand. I sincerely entreat the feuding factions to give peace a chance. Peace is a good commodity that we must all embrace irrespective of our differences.

I Stand for Peace in Bawku.

Thank you

Alhaji Salifu Hadara
A Citizen of Ghana
North East Region
[email protected]