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25.05.2019 Opinion

Should People Be Guilty By Association?

By Chief Akilu Sayibu

Since the renewed clashes between the Charkosis and the Konkonbas started at both Chereponi and Saboba, there have been calls from some persons on the Defence Minister, Hon Dominic Nitiwul, to either resign or be fired.

The calls for his resignation is not built on any empirical evidence implicating him in the current crisis but only influenced by the fact that he is a Konkonba.

Should people be guilty by association in this 21st Century and not through direct evidence linking them to crime?

If we are to promote this theory of guilt by association then, every Ghanaian will be guilty in one way or the other.

I honestly do not think that calls for the resignation of Minister Nitiwul are based on his complicity or involvement in the current crisis. If anything at all, he is putting in efforts to bring an end to the war even though domestic security does not come under his purview as the Minister in charge of the Defence of the country.

I must be quick to state that my heart bleeds for those who have died, misplaced or those whose properties have been burnt and are living in constant fear for their lives and in some cases, starving to death because they don't have immediate access to food and water.

I am aware per the videos and other literature in circulation on social media that children, women and the aged are highly affected in these wars.

The accusations and counter-accusations by both the Chokosis and the Konkombas have been read and viewed in videos as well.

In some cases, the government has been accused of not doing enough to protect lives and properties and to by extension end the conflicts.

I am not about to say whether these allegations are justified or not neither am I by this opinion piece going to pass judgement on who is right or wrong. This is not the motive for this article.

What I want to say is to appeal directly to the warring factions to choose peace over wars. They should use dialogue and other non-violent mechanisms to always address their problems and not always resort to the guns leading to avoidable deaths.

Conflicts between two persons should not be elevated to the level of tribal conflict. There must be thorough education on the socio-economic effects of wars on the lives of the people in terms of their development and related issues.

We must emphasise the need for peaceful coexistence and its benefits to the people and eschew needless wars.

The Defence Minister, Hon Dominic Nitiwul, must be commended for taking the initiative of pulling together opinion leaders from the two tribes and from the various political parties to visit the area to talk to the people to embrace peace. The Regional Security Council, headed by Hon Salifu Saeed, deserves some commendations as well for their efforts so far to end the feud.

Seeing leaders of the Konkonbas and the Chakosis together on a peace mission to the area is very positive.

This is very refreshing and those fighting must learn lessons from this.

If your leaders can travel on the same aeroplane and in some cases, vehicles as well as wine and dine together, why can't you do same?

I wish to use this opportunity to call on the Minister of the Interior as well as the National Security Minister and the various stakeholders to deploy all their conflict resolution skills to end this particular conflict in the area and other conflicts or potential conflict situations in the Region.

We must remind ourselves that we are all one people with a common destiny and it is better for us to swim together rather than sink together. A word to the wise, is always enough.

By Chief Akilu Sayibu

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