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Opinions of Sunday, 2 February 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Fulani Herdsmen Were First to Declare War

Fulani Herdsmen Were First to Declare War

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The call by the Asante-Akyem North Member of Parliament for his constituents to promptly and fiercely defend themselves against the predatory activities of Fulani cattle herdsmen on cultivated farmlands in the area is a justifiable one (See "Orders to Kill Cattle Amounts to Declaring War - Fulani Group" 1/30/14). This is not the first time that we are hearing of the government's apparent reluctance or abject unwillingness to deal with the problem.

Indeed, they may be nomadic, but the glaring fact of the matter is that the Fulani have no recognizable or legitimate history as an indigenous Ghanaian ethnic group. Besides, this is the civilized world of the twenty-first century and not the first century. And inasmuch as the human right of Fulani cattle herders to a decent livelihood cannot be either gainsaid or controverted, nonetheless, such eking out of their existence must not, under any circumstances, be carried out at the expense of the landed/sedentary farmers of the Akan areas of Ghana which are predominantly the target of assault by these intruders. I have written extensively about this Fulani menace in the recent past, and even suggested that the leaders of the ECOWAS countries convene an emergency session in order to work out a feasible solution to the problem.

I am hereby, once again, calling on the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the leaders of the West African sub-region to take up the matter. In the meantime, I stand totally in support of Mr. Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, the MP for Asante-Akyem North, vis-a-vis the imperative reserve of his constituents to fully arm themselves and fiercely defend themselves against these callous predators. I also fully support the refusal of Mr. Agyemang to meet with the local police chief who, we are reliably informed, has adamantly refused to comply with a court order to evict the Fulani herdsmen from the farmlands of the Asante-Akyem North indigenes.

This dire socioeconomic and cultural crisis also makes it imperative for the position of District Chief Executives to be made elective; for it also clearly appears that the Mahama appointee to the DCE job for the area is either grossly incompetent or simply AWOL. I am also gravely offended by the characterization of Mr. Agyemang's shoot-to-kill order by Alhaji Mohammed Mingle, described as Head of the Fulani Community in Ghana, as "a declaration of war." What does Alhaji Mingle think is the objective purpose of the deliberate destruction of Akan farmlands by his Fulani herdsmen?

And on the preceding score ought to be pointedly recalled the many documented instances in which our farm women have been brutally raped with impunity by these Fulani cattle herders, while those among our menfolk who protested such wanton acts of depravity were summarily executed by these primitive predators.

Indeed, rather than condemning Mr. Agyemang, the Asante-Akyem North MP, for his all-too-logical and morally justified call to shoot and kill any stray and disruptive Fulani livestock, I would rather have convened an emergency caucus of all legislators in the Fulani blighted areas in order to properly strategize on how to systematically and effectively deal with this menace, in view of the glaring failure and/or deliberate reluctance of the Mahama government to resolve the problem.


*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

Jan. 31, 2014