The Paramount Chief of the Sirigu Traditional Area in the Upper East Region, Naba Atogumdeya Roland Akwara III, has bemoaned the huge sums of money Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies often spend on the security agencies in maintaining peace in conflict areas in Ghana.
The traditional ruler made this observation when the Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Arts (SWOPA) organised a peacebuilding and conflict resolution programme for chiefs, queen mothers, volunteer youth groups and women leaders at the Sirigu community in the Kassena-Nankana West District on Monday.
The programme under the theme: “Peace Building and Conflict Resolution: The Role of Women,” which was sponsored by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) aimed at empowering stakeholders in conflict prevention, management and resolution.
Naba Akwara III observed that traditional rulers are the custodians of the people and command respect in their respective jurisdiction and have the power to deal with conflict management and resolution instead of security agencies.
The paramount chief indicated that in the past, traditional rulers had the power to deal with conflicts before they explode and attributed the inability to resolve such conflicts now to the infiltration of foreign culture which has being affecting the Ghanaian traditional system.
He stated that to help address this challenge, there was the need for government particularly, the MDAs to use the traditional council as a channel for resolving such issues instead of relying on the security agencies and spending huge sums of money in resolving conflict which the traditional rulers have the powers to deal with.
The Coordinator of the Programme, Mrs Bridget Adongo, stressed that when it comes to conflict, it was women and children who were the most vulnerable and impressed upon women to use their influence on their husbands and community not to engage in conflict.
She mentioned that Yua, Sirigu, Kandiga, Mirigu were noted to be conflict-prone areas in the Kassina-Nankana West District which usually have negative effects on the socio-economic development of the district, hence the programme.
The Assistant Coordinator of the programme, Mr Raymond Aiitibasa, explained that among the project objectives was how to promote Intra Community and Inter-Community peace in communities.
The Coordinator for the CFLI, Dr Zachary Pealore, explained that the Canadian Embassy was concern when it came to conflict, and that informed its decision to provide funding support for the project.
He added that the selected communities for the implementation of the programme was also informed by the closeness to the border towns of Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast which are endemic with conflict.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE SIRIGU