Professor Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, has said traditional leaders play critical roles in safeguarding and sustaining peace.
He explained that the various government frameworks that sought to promote peace had recognised the roles of the traditional institution at all levels.
Prof Aning said this in Wa, at the weekend, during a day’s workshop for traditional leaders in the Wa West District and selected traditional leaders from the Wa East and Wa Municipality on effective dispute resolution.
In all, 32 traditional leaders attended the training, on the theme: “Enhancing Dispute Resolution Skills of Traditional Leaders”.
It was organised by the Equal Opportunities for Children and the Aged (EOCA) with funding support from the National Lotteries Authority, Grand Hyatte Hotel, and W93.5Fm, a local radio station in Wa.
Prof Aning said the traditional institutions had existed and promoted peaceful coexistence at the community levels before the emergence of modern democracy that its importance cannot be over- emphasised.
“Being a modern state does not overlook the importance and critical role that chiefs play. The 1992 constitution recognizes the importance of your role, the chieftaincy act also recognizes your role, and finally, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act recognizes your role”, he explained.
Talking about the threat of terrorism in the country, Prof. Aning indicated that the threat of terrorism was emanating from within the country from the management of internal disparities, the tensions, and a sense of exclusion and disposition.
“We all need to know that no one will come from the outside to attack and to hurt this country and these communities if we are not so weak internally that those who feel affected internally will see those coming from the outside as their friends,” Prof. Aning observed.
He explained that the training would help build strong and resilient communities and for the people to understand and opt for ADR in the settlement of their differences.
Superintendent (RTD) Peter Lanchene Toobu, the Member of Parliament for the Wa West Constituency, noted that the terror attacks and violent extremism in neighbouring countries were a source of concern to the country.
He said all potential triggers of violent extremism ought to be dealt with to prevent the possibility of its occurrence in the country.
“The eminent attack of terror is so clear in our minds that the state must stand up and do what is necessary to prevent it, building soft power as well be ready with our hard power to counter any kind of terror attack,” he explained.
Supt. Toobu observed that the religious beliefs of the people in the country were the bonding factor among them but said the high rate of youth unemployment was the greatest security threat to the country.
On his part, Mr. Matthew Vaari, the Executive Director of EOCA, a Non-governmental Organisation, noted that the organisation was formed to help promote issues relating to children and the aged.
He said peaceful coexistence in the communities was paramount and emphasised that traditional leaders need to acquire skills for dispute resolution.