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02.07.2005 Regional News

Facilitate peace process between Nkonya, Alavanyo - Queen mothers

GNA

Ho, July 2, GNA - Chiefs and Queemothers from the Nkonya and Alavanyo traditional areas in the Volta Region have called on government to provide logistic and funding support to sustain mediation efforts in the dispute over land between the two traditional areas. The appeal was contained in a press statement at the close of a three-day conflict transformation and peace-building workshop organised by the Nkonya-Alavanyo Conflict Mediation Committee in Ho.

The statement read by Nana Kofi Kodia II, Adontenhene of the Nkonya Traditional Area said "support from government should come in timely now, if the momentum gathered and positive flame of peace should not smother." It also appealed to government to take steps to repair feeder roads in the area to facilitate inter-dependence between the two neighbours in the light of the current orientation among the people for peaceful co-existence.

The statement pledged that the two sides in the conflict which had gone on for the past 80 years were "ready for peace" and that the "peace process was on course."

The chiefs and queenmothers said the conflict had brought both sides nothing positive but "sporadic violence, killings, maiming, fear, uncertainty, insecurity, tension, suspicion, hatred and bitterness." As a result, "our two traditional areas suffer from disintegration and live as though an iron curtain was erected between us", the statement noted. It added, "this is the plight of our communities, who otherwise were closely related by blood ties out of many years of inter-marriage and used to visit relations and interact freely, joining in common festivities and celebrations."

The statement regretted that the conflict affected education as the youth could not enrol in schools in the other traditional area and others also could not come to schools in the area because it was a conflict zone. The chiefs conceded that the resolution of the core problem, that is the land issue will be tortuous and challenging but declared that they were "determined to resolve the issue and relieve ourselves of the canker once and for all."

The queem mothers expressed gratitude to the mediation committee and Mr Emmanuel Bombande of the West African Network for Peace (WANEP) for the efforts to bring the two sides together. Right Rev. Livingstone Buama, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Ghana who is chairman of the committee explained that the strategy for resolving the conflict was to first establish a modicum of understanding between the two sides before proceeding to tackle the core problem which is the land issue. He said the situation on the ground indicated that things were moving smoothly towards achieving peace in the area.

Rt. Rev. Buama said currently joint consultative committees comprising representatives from both sides were moving from one community to sensitise them and other identifiable stakeholders on the process.

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