The recent hostilities between sections of the Gonja and Mamprusi communities along a disputed border between the Soo and Wasipe traditional areas of the North East and Savanna Regions, is shocking just as it has left many deeply saddened.
These hostilities, emanating from disputes over traditional jurisdictional issues, have led to the destruction of property and loss of lives is a stark reminder of the urgent need to address the persistent cycle of violence that continues to plague most of our communities over disputed land or chieftaincy issues.
In the considered opinion of this newspaper, the loss of lives and the destruction of properties that follow, are not only deeply disturbing, but also a clear indication of the failure of our security apparatus and the urgent need for concrete measures to restore peace and harmony among the two tribes.
In his appeal for calm, the former president John Dramani Mahama, has said “Gonjas and Mamprusis have lived together peacefully for ages and have become family through intermarriage and other social relationships. We must endeavour to co-exist peacefully and deploy non-violent means to resolve disputes instead of resorting to arms at the slightest provocation”.
According to him “The issues that unite us must surpass those that divide us. I urge the people of Soo and Wasipe to channel their resources and energy into fighting poverty and deprivation, our common enemies”.
We join the former president in calling for calm and in his words call for the urgent intervention of the Overloads of Mamprugu and Gonjaland and the Paramount Chiefs of the Soo and Wasipe Traditional Areas to restore calm and deploy time-tested traditional and peaceful means to resolve the dispute.
One of the major concerns highlighted by these tribal conflicts is the failure of security agencies to adequately protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
The recurring nature of some of these conflicts suggests a lack of intelligence gathering, coordination, and timely response from the security forces.
The government and the security agencies must recognise the urgent need to revamp their strategies and reinforce the presence of security personnel in Soo and Wasipe, as well as other areas affected by conflict.
Similarly, government must prioritize economic development and job creation initiatives, especially in rural areas, to alleviate poverty and reduce competition for scarce resources.
Improved access to education, healthcare, and social amenities will also contribute to addressing the underlying issues fueling the violence.
Finally, in addition to preventive measures, it is crucial to hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions. Justice must be served to restore faith in the rule of law and deter people from taking the law into their hands, instead of resorting to the law courts to settle disputes.