By Zuberu Aliu
I begin on the premise that northern Ghana is the most peaceful and interesting place to stay in Ghana. The customs and traditions of the north are so rich that people from all walks of life must co-exist even on the face of provocation if people heed these traditions. The area is blessed with arable land where commercial agriculture can be practiced. Foodstuffs, to a large extent are moderately price if not completely free. Accommodation which is a challenge for city dwellers is a luxury in the north. One wonders why the north is always in the news for the bad reason.
The numerous avoidable conflicts in the north normally centre on chieftaincy disputes, ethnic conflicts as well as land disputes. As a lay person in matters regarding conflict resolutions, the causes of the recurring conflicts in the north are basically two things. People in authority in most of the cases adopt lazy approach to resolving these conflicts. Cosmetic measures are put in place when the conflict starts and nothing would be said about it as soon as the security is able to calm the situation. This practice does not only deepen the ill-feeling among the factions to the conflict. It also affords the warring factions the luxury to arm themselves. This is the situation in Bawku and other conflict zones in the three northern regions.
The Mamprusi faction in Bawku raises serious issues which are eminent stumbling blocks to finding lasting solution to the Bawku conflict. Call it ?injustice? if the claim by the Mamprusi youth is anything that should get a listening ear. One cannot doubt the integrity and professionalism of the men in uniform. Their expertise advices to the political class on security matters are suppose to be accurate. The nagging question begging for objective answers is: if the celebration of the Damba festival could pose security threat why is it not possible for the state to provide security for the celebrants? This should not be untenable as it was done for the celebration of the Samampiid festival. It cannot be said that the Mamprusi faction will use the Damba festival to ferment trouble.
What is worth considering in the conflicts is that whether in chieftaincy disputes, ethnic conflict or land disputes, we must decouple politics from traditional institutions. Mediations must be done in an environment that is clear of all forms of bias. Once one party suspects foul play, it will definitely be a big blow to any peace process. 2015 is with us and as part of our New Year resolutions, I entreat the Mamprusi faction to back down on their position and return to the negotiation table. While they do this, the state as a matter of fact must review its dealings with the warring factions. Northerners are peace loving people, but will resist any form of unequal treatment. Both Kusasis and Mamprusi should rise above trivialities and give peace a chance. Peace is the best alternative.