Chieftaincy and land, major drivers of conflict in northern Ghana

Bunkpurugu (NE/R), Jan 28, GNA – Lack of a clear roadmap for chieftaincy succession and poor land tenure administration are major drivers of violent conflicts in many traditional areas in northern Ghana.

Participants at a forum in Bunkpurugu in the North East Region said chieftaincy succession and land disputes continued to dominate conflict issues in many communities even though political activities and theft were contributory factors.

Many traditional systems did not have a documented form of succession with regard to the chieftaincy system and ownership of lands had generated disagreements leading to violence, destruction of property and loss of lives, they noted.

The stakeholders, including traditional authorities, security agencies, and assembly members, made these known at an engagement with the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District Assembly on the implementation of the peace building component of the Assembly’s Medium-Term Development Plan.

The forum was organised by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO) as part of the Integrated Peace building for Improved Food and Nutrition Supply (IN-PEACE) project sponsored by MISEREOR.

Naba Haji Abuba Nasinmong, the Paramount Chief of Bunkpurugu Traditional Area, said chieftaincy and land disputes had, over the years, retarded development and deepened the poverty cycle of the people and called for support to address them.

He said the youth were usually targeted to perpetuate violence and advocated the institution and training of youth peace councils to detect early warning signs of conflicts and resolve them before they escalated.

Mr Joseph Lonknaan, the District Chief Executive (DCE), applauded NABOCADO and its partners for the peace-building initiative and said women and the youth were most vulnerable during times of war.

He appealed to the various stakeholders, including traditional authorities and religious bodies, to use their wide platforms and influence to preach peace.

Apart from the mainstreaming of peace-building into the medium term development plan of the Assembly, the Business Advisory Centre had also trained about 200 youth in income generating activities, the DCE said.

“When the youth are engaged in economic activities and generate income, which helps them to put up something, they would not want to fight and destroy it,” he said.

Mr Joseph Bangu, the Director, Good Governance, Justice and Peace, said the project was being implemented in 16 communities in three administrative districts of the Diocese – Bawku Municipal in the Upper East Region, Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri, and Yunyoo-Nasuan districts.

He said the project sought to strengthen local structures at the grassroots to carry out peace building campaigns as well as support the assemblies to implement the peace-building component of their Medium-Term Development Plans.

“While the state security look at peace making, we are looking at peace-building, which is more of a preventive approach and we have trained community peace agents as well as members of the assemblies and security agencies on all aspects of peace-building to detect early warning signs and respond appropriately.”

When there was peace, food production would increase and improve the livelihood of the people, he said.


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