Mr Ebenezer Kojo Kum, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, has called on residents of Bawku and surrounding communities in the Upper East Region to embrace peace for accelerated socio-economic development and transformation.
He said the promotion and maintenance of peace in the area should not be left in the hands of the government alone but must be supported by stakeholders, including the factions involved in the conflict.
“I, therefore, call on all the factions in the Bawku communal violence to mount a vigorous and persistent campaign against these forces of darkness and enemies of progress and development.
“We are one people and we should not allow anything to destroy us and the future of our children and those unborn,” he said.
The Minister, who was speaking at the celebration of the 34th Samapiid festival of the chiefs and people of Kusaug Traditional Area, made the call in connection with the recent reemergence of chieftaincy conflict in the area.
The disturbances led the government, through the Ministry of the Interior, to impose a curfew while the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council banned the wearing of smock in the Bawku Township and its environs.
The celebration was on the theme: “Promoting socioeconomic and cultural development of Kusaug; the role of Kusaal literacy and cultural tourism.”
The Minister said Bawku, which in the past was the hub of economic activities in Northern Ghana, was gradually losing its attraction due to
persistent communal conflicts.
“Our children’s education was jeopardized, teachers and other workers preferred to work in other places outside Bawku and it also led to huge expenditure to maintain peace at the expense of development in this area,” he said.
Mr Kum noted that violence had collapsed many economies around the world and called on stakeholders, including the traditional and religious leaders, the media, concerned citizens and youth to spread the message of peace and harmony.
He said citizens should report suspected characters, especially those in possession of weapons and other ammunition, to the security agencies, adding, “this should, however, not be done on basis of unchecked information, rumours and malicious fabrications.”
He appealed to the interethnic peace committee to work together to counter disturbances that might arise and ensure sustained peace and development.
Pe Dituudini Adiana Ayagitam III, the President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, said politics had infiltrated the violence in Bawku and appealed to stakeholders to work with the security agencies to fish out the miscreants to face the law.
Zug-Raan Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, the Overlord of the Kusaug Traditional area, urged residents to embrace peace and support the implementation of the government’s flagship programmes to improve livelihood of the people.