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Opinions of Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Columnist: Ahmed Issah

Ringing my bell for peace not pieces at Agogo

It hurts to the marrow when I wake up to the news of murder at Agogo due to the conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and the residents of Agogo

It is my hope that this article contributes as an objective view and reflection in solving this menace at the expense of being tagged as bias or partial in favour or against any of the parties involved in the conflict. I pray it also serves as a wake up call to all stakeholders both active and inactive in providing an everlasting solution to this menace.

In as much as I believe some stakeholders have failed to play neutral cards, I wish to commend the effort of all stakeholders who have contributed in diverse ways believed to be geared towards settling the scores in this conflict; the likes of the Youths of Agogo, the media houses, the national security council, the chiefs and other individuals

It is reported that more than 30 people have lost their lives already and others have sustained all levels of injuries so far.

What hurts me more is the thought of this number which most definitely can’t be decreased, will continue to increase because the ongoing menace has no future of ending soon

For the purpose of this write-up, the two parties involved in this conflict are the Fulani herdsmen (who are noted for raring cattle to produce dairy products which sometimes doesn’t belong to them) and the residents of Agogo (who are known to be famers)

Obviously, the contributions of these parties in nation building can't be overlooked and it will be very myopic for us to consider one party to be more important than the other.

A close look at the ongoing conflict indicates that, none of the parties involved is willing to hold onto peace. This can be deduced from the continuous agitation by the herdsmen who accuse the residents of killing their colleagues and shooting their cattle followed by a counter agitation by the residents who accuse the herdsmen for destroying their farms and raping women in the area.

One can also say, that the police at Agogo has failed to solve the issue at it’s level for many reasons which are not limited to inadequate men as reported by Kingsley E. Hope of Ghanaian Times (page three, paragraph 10 of Tuesday 22nd March publication)

Further more, the virtually inevitable and disguised painting of conflict with partisan colours is settling comfortably on the minds of the parties in the conflict thus, the notion of political party A is in favour of either the nomads or the residents. A dicey notion I believe, needs to be abolished and discouraged at all cost

Also, the National Security Council (NSC) whom we expected to have adopted a more constructive approach to solving the issue is arguably, looking to have taken side with the residents of Agogo and decided to use forces like the military and extra police hands to “flush” the herdsmen out of Agogo .

As reported below

An action I have always doubted it potency in solving the menace. Has the NSC for once asked “where these nomads will be heading to, after they are flushed out of Agogo and what is the guarantee that another conflict will not spark at their new location.

The Words of Albert Einstein notes that “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding”. These words draws my attention to, whether the peace at Agogo is the type which is intended to be kept by force or by understanding.

Of course an objective person will agree with me that, as long as the two parties continue to point fingers at each other, peace can’t be kept by understanding unless by force and the question that avails is “if peace can for once be kept by force”.

I fear a future that will manifest, should this conflict be handled at this level.

I fear a future where parties involved in the conflict will feel intimidated by the weapons used by our military and police and thus see the need to employ more confiscated weapons to counter the intimidation .

I fear a future where Ghana will loss great sons and daughters to this menace I fear a future where the seed of war planted in today’s Agogo will grow into a big tree to cast it’s shadow of hatred and agony beyond the corners of Agogo I fear a future where a third party will be created from this conflict by way of any influential person who is neither a resident of Agogo nor a Fulani herdsman accidently losing his or her life to this menace and his or Her loyalist would be forced to take side in the conflict.

I fear a future where the grandchildren of today’s Fulani herdsmen of Agogo and the grandchildren of today's residents of Agogo will be incompatible because of today’s History

Dear reader, if you fear the future with me, please join me, as I invoke the spirit of the bell to wake the necessary stakeholders, including ourselves, and be mindful that, it is only a fool who sits in his house when his roof is on fire, let us be alert because, a dark future awaits us, if this conflict continues.

By this article, I am of the view that, the National Peace Council (NPC) should be the sole body in charge of restoring peace at Agogo The likes of the police, the NSC, the military among others should only be there to support.

The council should use its diversified influence to engage the various religious, ethnic and political leaders to preach the gospel of peace to the people of Agogo

The Council should also insist on the construction of fodder banks by the government or cattle breeders, and the cattle confined to ensure that they do not stray.

In doing this, I am Positive that peace in Agogo will be kept by understanding rather than by force .

God Bless Agogo, and God Bless Ghana!!!

Thank you

Ahmed Issah (Med#Vim)

(SRC President of Zenith University College)

I. G @ isahmed4u

Twt @is_ahmed4u