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04.05.2007 General News

Yendi is enjoying “hot peace”

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The Programmes Manager of the Assemblies of God Relief and Development Services, Mr. Martin Alfa has described the prevailing situation in Yendi as "hot peace."

He said this is so because "it requires enormous financial resources and security personnel to maintain and sustain".

Mr Alfa said this was in contrast with the "just peace" that the Otumfuo Committee and other civil society organisations (CSOs) were striving to achieve to restore peace to Dagbon and Yendi in particular.

"Until we arrive at a situation of a just peace, the burden of maintaining the hot peace will remain enormous", he said, adding that neither the security agencies nor the CSOs working alone could achieve that kind of peace.

Mr. Alfa was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on: "Peace-building and conflict transformation" for the Yendi District Security Committee (DISEC) at Yendi on Thursday.

He urged the security agencies to complement the efforts of peace builders to ensure the achievement of lasting peace in conflict areas instead of the two parties being suspicious of one another.

Mr. Alfa noted that security was the cornerstone in the building blocks of peace.

"Unfortunately peace-building practitioners have often been accused of interfering in the work of security agencies, especially when there is sensitive intelligence material to share", he said.

The workshop, which is a collaboration between AGREDS-Ghana and DIAKONIA, a Swedish NGO, forms part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis.

The forum has been designed to equip members of the DISEC with tools for conflict analysis, skills in interest-based interventions in conflict management, restorative justice and how to deal with post conflict situations.

It would focus more on the issues of justice, truth, mercy and peace.

Mr. Alfa said: "Security agencies, by their training, are rigid about certain principles and feel uncomfortable entrusting sensitive intelligence material to others".

He noted that peace practitioners could never succeed in their efforts at building durable peace without such sensitive material.

"Therefore it is imperative for security agencies and peace-builders to work hand-in-hand and complement each other's efforts to engender synergies for maximum impact", he said.

Mr. Alfa described the prevailing peace in Yendi as "hot peace", because "it requires enormous financial resources and security personnel to maintain and sustain".

He said this was in contrast with the "just peace" that the Otumfuo Committee and other civil society organisations (CSOs) were striving to achieve to restore peace to Dagbon and Yendi in particular.
"Until we arrive at a situation of a just peace, the burden of maintaining the hot peace will remain enormous", he said, adding that neither the security agencies nor the CSOs working alone could achieve that kind of peace.

Mr. Alfa said much had not been achieved in the past in terms of conflict management and resolution because peace-builders had been looking for the answers to peace in the wrong places and asking the wrong questions.

He underscored the point that in the task of building peace and transforming conflicts, no actor was to be considered less important than the other and no effort or contribution was too little because no single actor or institution could claim to have the panacea and sufficient capacity for resolving all conflicts.

He appealed to the parties in the Dagbon conflict to bury their differences and embrace peace for the development of the area and for the sake of generations yet unborn.

The Most Reverend Vincent Boi-Nai, Catholic Bishop of Yendi, said the refusal to follow laid-down traditions and customs pertaining to chieftaincy was a major factor contributing to conflicts.

He therefore urged traditional authorities to strictly abide by such traditions and customs.

Most Rev. Boi-Nai noted that the delays in resolving conflicts had tended to heighten situations; giving room for rumour mongers to misrepresent facts and thereby creating suspicion and mistrust among the contending parties in the conflicts.

He said nurturing hatred in the hearts of rival factions and the urge to revenge did not augur well for conflict transformation and appealed to the people to learn to show mercy and forgiveness.

Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, Yendi District Chief Executive, commended AGREDS for organizing the workshop and expressed the hope that the forum would sharpen the skills and capacities of the DISEC in the conflict transformation stage of the Yendi peace process.

Source: GNA

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