Ho, Jan 12, GNA - A ground breaking peace building joint consultative meeting of the youth of the Nkonya and Alavanyo traditional areas ended in Ho on Wednesday with a pledge to resist those who foment conflict within and outside their communities.
The West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP) facilitated the meeting, which was under the aegis of the Mediation Committee on the protracted land dispute between the Nkonya and Alavanyo traditional areas.
In a joint resolution, the two sides decided to endeavour to traverse peace, even under trying moments and challenge chiefs and elders of the areas to "remain focused on peace". "It is our intention to lead in building the bridges of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence and we shall no more entertain the war protagonists," the joint resolution declared.
Mr Amlado Wisdom, who represented the Alavanyo side, read the statement, while Mr Joseph Kofi Atobi, representing the Nkonya side stood by.
"It is our supplication that even in the event of the most extreme provocation, we should all remember not to take the law into our hands but rather refer issues to the relevant agencies," the resolution stated.
It said the door on "fear, mistrust, hatred and violence is closed forever" and pledged "to do nothing that would draw us back into the dark period of violence and war with its attendant pain, suffering, killings, destructions and traumas".
Mr Emmanuel H. Bambande, Executive Director of the WANEP told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that during the three-day meeting, the youth from both sides were consulted on how best to translate the concepts of peace to erase the spectre of distrust between the two traditional areas.
He said progress made in bringing the two sides in the Alavanyo/Nkonya conflict together should inspire other communities in conflict to move towards dialogue.
Mr Bombande said there was the need for Ghanaians to reflect on the way greed and selfish interest was eroding the principles and values that promoted stability in the country.
The Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) brokered and established the Mediation Committee in 2004 to bring the Nkonya and Alavanyo sides to the negotiating table.
It is working under a two-tier system with two Consultative Committees, each comprising representatives of both sides, which were tasked to meet with the different segments of the two traditional areas to preach and counsel them on the need for peaceful co-existence. Rt. Rev. Dr. Livinsgstone Buama, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Ghana, Chairman of the Mediation Committee, observed that, "peace would never come until we act to bring it". Rt. Rev. Francis Lodonu Bishop of the Ho Diocese of the Catholic Church, who is member of the committee, expressed joy at the progress made, remarking that, when the two sides were invited to Ho for consultations that led to the formation of the committee, security personnel had to be posted at vantage points of the venue. "Here we are today, with the same people seated close to each other, with no security person to keep an eye over them, he stated". The meeting was characterized by the singing of inspirational songs, as the sides intermingled and embraced each other. At one point the GNA saw Togbe Tsedze Atakora VI, Paramount Chief of the Alavanyo Traditional Area and Nana Okotor Kofi III, seated together in deep conversation.