Defence minister Dominic Ntiwul has rejected suggestions his ethnicity is a hindrance in resolving the protracted Chereponi conflict in the North-East region.
The minister who is Konkomba said his successful mission to engage the Konkombas and Chokosis last Friday shows his ethnicity is not a barrier to peace.
“If the people see us as part of the problem, they would not listen to us,” the Defence minister explained on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday.
Chereponi is haemorrhaging vital service providers as teachers, health professionals and a host of government workers abandon the volatile area.
The latest round of violence in the Konkomba-dominated district, where Chokosis remain the minority, marked the third of such incidents in the past five months. Two persons died. The toll of the fighting includes loss of properties, delayed development and humanitarian challenges.
Photo: Police officer helps children fleeing the conflict.
Junior High School students are set to write a nationally administered Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) from June 10 and have pleaded with the government to help them study in peace.
The conflict is linked to a parcel of land reportedly two acres. But the land has ancestral significance and has become a matter of identity.
The Defence minister observed the factions have lost trust for each other hence an escalation of the conflict. The minister took leading personalities from both sides living in Accra and flew to the area for peace talks.
Photo: Chereponi, marked deep brown.
Touting progress, the 41-year old minister said there has not been a “single gunshot” since Friday.
“They have laid down their arms,” the Bimbilla MP and minister maintained and said the next step is to include religious leaders to help maintain peace.
The minister wants more focus on resolving the conflict and not his ethnicity which he insisted is not a sticky issue.
In 2002, the Northern regional minister, Prince Imoro Andani and Interior Minister Malik Alhassan Yakubu resigned after suspicions they had a hand in the Dagbon crisis in which the overlord, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II was brutally murdered.
But Dominic Nitiwul has said it is unfair to declare people “guilty by association”. He said despite the volatile situation, he was able to address the people.
“It is a risk we are willing to take,” he said. “Luckily for all of us, it has had a positive impact,” the former teacher observed.
Security analyst Kwesi Aning has said the semblance of peace should not lull government into rest.
He explained the aggressors are using the time to bury the dead and re-arm. He urged government to get security chiefs to go and live in the area to understand the conflict.
Land ownership is a pawn for political representation in the region. Where land is owned, chieftaincy is created, where chieftaincy exists political representation becomes viable in institutions like the National House of Chiefs and influence in political parties is enhanced.
The tension among Konkombas and the settlers Chokosis can be traced into colonial times.
Source : myjoyonline.com