The Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Peace Council, Right Reverend Christopher Nyarko Andam, has advised Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to use non-violent strategies to respond to conflicts through networking, coordination and campaigning with other development actors to ensure peaceful coexistence.
He assured of the Council’s commitment, dedication and determination to raise awareness on the need for them to strategise effectively and efficiently to sustain peace, unity, harmony and cohesion in their communities.
“Ashanti Region, like other regions, remains vulnerable to intermittent communal violence, chieftaincy disputes, land litigation, electoral violence, vigilantism, extremism, youth clashes, and land resource conflict in mining areas,” Rt. Rev. Andam warned.
Speaking at a capacity building workshop in Kumasi on ‘Conflict Management and Reporting for MMDCEs’, he explained that the development agenda of the government would only be possible when there was peaceful coexistence between leadership and the people.
It was under the auspices of the National Peace Council in collaboration with the Department of Peace and Development Studies of the University of Cape Coast, with support and assistance from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Rt. Rev. Andam said solutions to challenges and problems within communities required collective efforts of all stakeholders and the citizenry, and stressed on the need for MMDECEs to improve their capacities on conflict resolution techniques to enable them manage and speak on conflict issues.
He charged them to engage from informed positions to empower them to integrate conflict sensitivity in their progress, growth and development plans and agendas.
Simon Osei-Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister, urged MMDCEs to build consensus with all stakeholders for peaceful coexistence, efficient and effective administration of their respective jurisdictions.
He cautioned that although some assemblies were sharply divided on partisan lines, it was important to consider all actors to ensure success of peace-building and development processes so as not to stall progress, growth and development.
“I will entreat you to accord the needed respect and recognition to all stakeholders, especially traditional authorities, assembly members, opinion leaders and residents to build cordial relations with management to build trust and confidence in you because the need for peaceful coexistence has never been apparent than this time, where socio-political systems seem not to respond effectively and efficiently to emerging conflicts.
“The youth are increasingly agitated over limited opportunities, with impunity eating into society, threat of extremism looming over the sub-region, early response is benchmark for mitigating violence and people must desist from resorting to chaotic behaviour whenever tension rises,” Mr Osei-Mensah proffered.
He said in recent times, the use of dialogue had proven to be effective and efficient in the settlement of misunderstandings. There should be enough trust, confidence, between local government structures and citizens to avoid political instability. -GNA