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21.07.2008 Regional News

Women, Children March For Peace In Bawku

By Daily Graphic
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Hundreds of women and children in Bawku on Saturday defied a downpour and went on a 'Peace March' through the principal streets of the town, after which they presented a petition to the President, through the Bawku Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Abdulai Abanga.

They carried placards, some of which read, “We want peace”, “Let's give peace a chance”, “No peace, no development”, “Conflict destroys”, “We are one people with a common destiny”, “Let's build bridges across ethnic lines” and “People of Bawku, our greatest enemies are poverty and ignorance”.

The march was organised by the Concerned Women of Bawku, in collaboration with the Bawku East Development Association (BEDA), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and supported by the Bawku Municipal Assembly.

Presenting the petition, the Secretary of the Concerned Women, Mrs Lucy Awuni, noted with concern that since the outbreak of the Bawku conflict, several attempts had been made by individuals and organisations to broker peace but to no avail.

She said even President J. A. Kufuor added his voice by inviting the factions to the seat of government to seek peace but that also had very little success.

She said women and children became alarmed when the conflict took a different dimension, leading to the massacre of innocent women and children, describing the development as unacceptable, even in conventional war situations.

“We the women of Bawku wish to condemn the conflict without reservation and in no uncertain terms condemn the killing of women and children, an act that amounts to the extermination of future generations,” Mrs Awuni said.

She declared that the women of Bawku could not afford to stomach their suffering and keep mute when their rights were being trampled upon by their own husbands and children just because of their desire for power and recognition.

She said the effect of the conflict on the socio-economic development of Bawku was enormous, adding that anytime peace was destabilised, the imposition of a curfew affected every facet of the local economy.

“We the Concerned Women of Bawku, having found ourselves and our children as the vulnerable group in the conflict, wish to respectfully forward this petition to the President to continue in his efforts at finding a lasting solution to the conflict for peace to return to the once vibrant Bawku,” she said.

The MCE, Mr Abdulai Ebanga, who received the petition on behalf of the President, commended the women on their courage in venturing into the strongholds of both the Kusasis and the Mamprusis, describing them as the heroines of Bawku.

He entreated them not to rest but continue with their peace efforts until their husbands yielded to their cries for peace.

He pledged to forward the petition to the President but appealed to them not to hesitate to inform the security agencies of troublemakers for prompt action to be taken to forestall future disturbances, assuring them that the identities of informants would be protected.

Story by Alhandu Abdul-Hamid

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