Opinions Tue, 7 Apr 2009

Conflict And Ignorance: An Albatross To Northern Development

The northern region has for the past years experienced some spates of violence and conflicts, from the cruel murder of the ya-na, the shooting of one young boy in the tamale, the inhumane, carnibalistic and brutal murder of Issah mobila, then follows the burning of houses in the gushegu township, the ethnic violence in Bawku, chieftancy issues in the central gonja district capital (buipe) and recently the burning of houses in the tamale metropolis by some lawless group of people. All these conflicts and violence are a great danger to the youth and children of this region. Where there is conflict and violence (be it political,ethnic,or religious,)definitely there is no peace, and where there is no peace no one expect development.Destruction,hatred, bitterness, and all sorts of social vices get the chance to thrive, and the result is poverty.

Our people must start to look at and rethink their action and inaction as well as the commissions and omissions that they have made so as to put an end to these nonsense for it will not take us anywhere neither would it auger well for our socio-economic development. I find it extremely difficult, to understand why some one would use so much money that could cater for his son/daughter’s school to buy an AK47 gun or MARK4 or what ever the name may be just to kill or cause mayhem, could this be ignorance? What is even worse, these children/youth are indoctrinated to the extent that they have enemies and that their enemies are the men or women who ones fought with the father, or the men or women who are from the other side of the chieftaincy gate. The youth who are within this kind of brackets do not get to think that the only enemy they have is the parent/guardian who uses all his resources to buy guns or even cattle, and the most dangerous part is that those youth from these homes are characterized by high violence making them vulnerable to externalizing problems such as verbal and physical aggression, non compliance, depression and anxiety.

There is no doubt that there have been some protracted tribal violence in the northern region ,for instance the kusasis and the mamprusi,the dagombas and the konkombas, etc.These conflicts have created a lot of development problems in the northern region, simply because no investor would like to invest in a not-investor-friendly environment, where their investment properties are not secured, monies which would have otherwise been used for the development of the north are rather diverted into security operations and other related issues. Many non governmental organisations have had to vacate and relocate in other parts of Ghana, this undoubtedly has caused the idleness that has characterised the north leading to the violent act that we see today, as the saying goes, the devil dwells in the idle hands.

In this era of globalisation and economic challenges, it is only wise that we in the northern region especially the youth rise to the challenges and say no to ignorance and conflicts. Our generation must come to face the reality that education is the cradle of civilisation and that our existence in this contemporary world can only be sustained by education and not violence and conflicts. We must follow the road of decency, strong moral values and respect for coexistence as the only path that would lead us to development, and relinquish us from the claws of poverty, ignorance and disease that have bedevilled our existence for some time. There is so much poverty in the three northern regions and hey, the only way to solve this is education.

For any government policy and programme to be effectively successful, there must be the need for us to eschew violence, ethnicity and tribalism to enable government to bridge the development gap between the north and the south. The NDC government I understand has rolled out some good policies and programmes (thus the savannah accelerated development authority, the establishment of a Shea butter industry, subsidizing farming inputs etc) aimed at reducing poverty, creating employment and engaging our idle youths, but until we in the north begin to live in harmony and coexist as a people with a common destiny to enable the government to fight poverty, diseases and ignorance these policies and programmes will only be a mirage.

I call on the chiefs, elders, religious groups and leader, as well as the northern MPs and politicians to champion the course of finding solutions to these unfortunate situations of conflict and violence. We the youth looks up to them, their actions have a very important string to the violence situation we have in the north, They must aggressively tackle and find solutions to this by involving all stakeholders in the northern region who are players in fight against conflicts, ignorance, poverty and diseases. We can not afford to remain as we are and be looked at by our sceptics with fear and mockery just at the least opportunity.

Salam……..God Bless mother Ghana,

Makama F. Kamara …


The Nederlands

Columnist: Kamara, Makama F.