Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Folks, when I read earlier today a news report that the NPP MP for Asante Akyem, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman, had given an order to his constituents to "shoot and kill" whenever cattle belonging to Fulani herdsmen invade their farms, I cringed.
Not only because the order came from an MP who had no authority to issue such an order but because of the wider ramifications of the order and the likelihood of its being abused to worsen the very problem that it might have been aimed at solving.
I questioned the legality, morality, and propriety of this kind of order in a constitutional democratic era when governance calls for better approaches toward solving problems than what the MP has chosen.
This order is a recipe for disaster and won't solve the perceived problem. The MP has crossed the line and should be told so. Indeed, the Ashanti Regional Security Council (Regsec) has swiftly done so to ensure that nobody does anything to endanger life and well-being that part of the country.
The government must immediately make its voice heard on the matter and how it intends to solve the Fulani problem once-and-for-all.
When the Fulani menace arose sometime ago, I was one of those who vehemently condemned the government for not tackling it expeditiously to avert any confrontation between the Fulani herdsmen and their benefactors (the local people whose land and resources they and their cattle use) all over the country where they operated.
The government took some time to respond to the menace, setting up task forces and empowering them to deal with the Fulani herdsmen, some of whom were driven out of some areas only to return to carry out their activities with impunity; hence, the anger of the people in the affected areas.
But solving the problem cannot be done with this "shoot-to-kill" order from an MP.
Where is the District Security Committee (Disec) in this case? Or the District Assembly itself? And why should an MP go to that extreme of taking over a security matter to issue such a dangerous order on?
In fact, the MP's justification of his order is itself a confirmation of the high-handedness that he has turned to as the solution. He says that the eleven-member military and police task force set up last year at the instance of the National Security Council to investigate the Agogo Fulani herdsmen menace, had not achieved the desired results.
But why won't he raise the issue for it to be tackled in a more civilized manner than resorting to this killing (of the cattle or the Fulani herdsmen)?
Threatened, won't the Fulani herdsmen also arm themselves to defend their interests? In consequence, what will the local people and the Fulanis be setting themselves up for? A battle of sorts?
Obviously, this NPP MP doesn't know his limits or purview as a law-maker. One would have expected him to even raise the problem on the floor of Parliament or introduce a bill to help Parliament come out with a law to define how cattle herding by these Fulanis should be done in the country.
We know that the Fulani herdsmen are not restricted to the Agogo area alone; they are all over the country, doing things with impunity. So, to provide a long-term solution for their menace, shouldn't this MP even think outside the box to initiate a bill that will have a national character and help restrain these Fulanis in any civilized way possible?
Failing to do so portrays this MP as narrow-focused. His reason for issuing the order is even more ridiculous:
"We will not sit there for these Fulani herdsmen to use their cattle to destroy what we have used our hard earned money to establish. So, I am admonishing that if they come to your farm, shoot and kill them. As an evidence, let them be on the farm and the security [personnel] will come and see. It will be an evidence that the cattle are still there", the MP advised.
Indeed, whether we like it or not, these Fulanis also have their part to play and cannot just be destroyed anyhow. The problem needs a better solution than what this NPP MP has ordered his constituents to do.
Some MPs really need a lot of “schooling” to be able to function properly. Pandering to the gallery isn't part of that "schooling".
And the government itself will be blamed for not acting resolutely to solve this Fulani problem to ensure peaceful co-existence in areas accommodating these Fulani herdsmen and their cattle. Indeed, for as long as the government and its law-enforcement agencies fail to tackle problems to the satisfaction of the people, there is the likelihood that some on-the-spur-of-the-moment measures such as is coming from this NPP MP will be adopted by those who can no more tolerate the nuisance from undesirables in their communities whose activities endanger limb and property.
Why can't the government act more decisively on such problems that have serious security implications? I am worried; so should all Ghanaians be at this stage that a "shoot-to-kill" order is in full swing in Agogo and its environs. Who knows where it will come from next? Shooting to kill is dangerous to democracy!!
I shall return…
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