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16.08.2007 General News

Don't perpetuate Dagbon crisis for votes - Alhaji Idris

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Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, on Wednesday appealed to politicians not to politicise and perpetuate the Dagbon crisis and keep the people divided for the sake of votes.

He said some politicians who had an inordinate ambition for power were making attempts to perpetuate the crisis in Dagbon "for purposes of keeping Dagombas hopelessly divided in order to reap the benefits of votes".

Alhaji Idris was speaking at a three-day capacity building workshop on: "Conflict transformation and peace building" for some chiefs and royals of Dagbon in Tamale on Wednesday.

The Assemblies of God Relief and Development Services Ghana (AGREDS-Ghana) organised the workshop under the sponsorship of Diakonia, a Swedish NGO.

The workshop is intended to build the capacity of the participants in conflict interventions to equip them for the task of conflict management in the region and the Dagbon crisis in particular.

Alhaji Idris said as a result of the divide and rule tactics being employed by the politicians, some sections of Dagombas had refused to see any good in what the government was doing for the region and for the country.

"The division in Dagbon, no matter the reason, is bad and inimical to the cause of Dagombas and northerners in the final analysis", he said.

The Regional Minister said the search for peace in Dagbon lay in the hands of the people themselves, especially the chiefs and the royals.

"It is time we stopped the finger-pointing and the blame game and embrace peace if we want to survive as a family. When brothers fight and destroy themselves, strangers reap the booty".

He commended AGREDS-Ghana for organising the workshop and said chiefs by their natural and traditional roles were conflict arbitrators and mediators.

"Therefore, any effort aimed at increasing their skills and capacity to enhance the performance of their roles is in the right direction,” he said.

Mr. Martin Alfa, Programme Manager of AGREDS-Ghana, commended the Committee of Eminent Chiefs led by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, and the chiefs and people of Dagbon for bringing the peace process this far.

He said a few years ago, it was a taboo to discuss the Dagbon crisis but noted with joy that it was now possible to organise a workshop, in which the royals of both the Andani and Abudu gates could come together "to discuss peace face to face".

Mr Alfa said there was however a lot more to do to achieve durable peace in Dagbon.

"Peace can only come about through dialogue, negotiation and cooperation...the kind of peace where there is true reconciliation and restoration of relationship".

The Reverend Father Thaddeus Kuusah, the Regional Peace Promoter, expressed the hope that the workshop would help to break suspicion and hatred and build harmony among the people of Dagbon.

Source: GNA