Lt Gen (Rtd) Joseph Henry Smith PLANS BY a high-powered government delegation led by the Minister of the Interior, Cletus Avoka, to meet the leadership of the country's two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress(NDC) in Tamale regarding recent disturbances there, ended in deadlock as the NPP failed to turn up.
The meeting, aimed at getting both parties to initiate solutions to the long standing feud between them resulting in constant clashes among supporters, rather attracted a large number of the NDC faithfuls, sections of the media and some security agencies with two representatives from the NPP.
Reasons were not given for the no-show by the leadership of the NPP, but one person who was available for the proceedings, alleged that they left because members of the opposing side verbally assaulted them while on rounds to most of the affected places. The NDC has however denied this claim.
These allegations of verbal abuse nearly marred the beauty of the proceedings but for the intervention of the some opinion leaders and mediators from the Northern Peace Council.
Mr. Avoka expressed regret that a well-designed initiative ended that way and wondered why those available did not draw his attention to occurrences behind the scenes.
He admitted that though they had delayed before the scheduled time for the meeting, it was all aimed at addressing the impasse between both factions and expected them to have at least devoted time for it.
The minister was particularly disturbed that the major reasons for the visit turned out to be unsuccessful and expressed hope that such incidents would not be repeated.
To ensure that both parties committed themselves to the peace initiative, Mr. Avoka, in the presence of his outfit, announced plans for a revisit to the region where a similar meeting would be held for both parties.
The minister appealed to the parties to lend their fullest support to the new regional minister, Stephen Sumani Nayina who had in stock, a number of developmental plans for the region.
Resorting to violence to drum home their demands in the name of politics he noted, was a recipe for disaster and a mirage to the country's democratic dispensation.
While reiterating the need for residents to eschew violent practices and live in peace and harmony, he warned that the government would not shield any individual who in the name of 'Abudu or Andani', NPP or NDC, went about committing crimes hoping that they would be freed once arrested.
According to him no one was above the law and it behooves on every citizen to act in accordance with the laws of the country appealing to the security agencies to live beyond reproach in the discharge of duties.
The Minister of Defence, Lt Gen (Rtd) Joseph Henry Smith, said enough was enough in the region and emphasised the need for both factions to consider rebuilding the area to turn it into a peaceful haven for the rest of the country.
He indicated that constant violence in the region would rob it of any meaningful development and repel potential investors; depriving a greater number of the working populace employment opportunities.
Mr. Smith urged every individual to get on board in the rebuilding process and putting the region back to its rightful place to attract more investors and tourists. “I would be glad to come to Tamale for a summer holiday,” he concluded and emphasized that will be possible if the area is peaceful.
Recent clashes in the region that attracted national attention claimed a life and destroyed properties running into several thousands of Ghana cedis while about 30 houses were also torched.
22 persons have so far been arrested in connection with the recurrence, out of this number, 18 have been remanded in prison custody by a Tamale circuit court while the rest are in police custody assisting in investigations.
The two main political parties have ever since been trading blames over who is responsible for the current clashes but attempts to have both parties initiate resolution moves was stalled, as one side failed to attend the meeting.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale