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Regional News Wed, 20 May 2009

Nkonya and Alavanyo begin negotiation over future of disputed land

Ho, May 20, GNA - The chiefs and people of Nkonya and Alavanyo have begun crucial negotiations over the future of the 10 square miles of land that has been at the centre of more than 80 years of violent conflict between them. The negotiations are expected to put the final seal on the peace which has been holding since 2005 when they initiated the peace process under the aegis of the Alavanyo-Nkonya Conflict Mediation Committee. "The lenses of the nation and peace seekers the world over are

focused on Nkonya/Alavanyo as reference points," the Volta Regional Minister

Mr Joseph Amenowode told the opening session. He told Togbe Tsedze Atakora VII, Fiaga of Alavanyo and Nana

Okotor Kofi III, Omanhene of Nkonya that they "are at the threshold of

consolidating a great historical achievement", and that their names would top

the list and be revered forever "when the great chiefs of Nkonya and Alavanyo

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are being recounted in modern times". Mr Amenowode promised the two traditional areas that their

dvelopment needs would be persistently presented as a special case to the government. He said the success story of Nkonya and Alavanyo had elicited peace overtures from the chiefs and people of Peki Traditional Area over a similar protracted and often bloody land dispute. Mr Amenowode thanked the Ho Catholic Diocese, the Catholic

Relief Services, the United Nations Development Programme and the "Dialogue

and Advocacy For Good Governance" Office of the Ghana Bishops'

Conference for their financial support for the peace process. He also expressed gratitude to Mr Emmanuel Bombande of the West Africa

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Network for Peace Building for providing sound guidance to the process. Togbe Atakora and Nana Okotor reaffirmed their commitment and those of

their people to achieving final and permanent peace. "We want peace and I always pray for success," Nana Okotor said. Togbe Atakora said the vehicle of peace crafted by Nkonya and Alavanyo

"has no reverse gear. We will not allow anybody to introduce reverse gear into

our vehicle." He said the two traditional areas would not behave like the proverbial

monkey with some human and some animal features because it failed to endure

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a ritual that would have made it a full blown human being. The Very Reverend Dr Livingstone Buama, immediate past

Moderator of the E.P. Church who chairs the Mediation Committee, said the

hostility between Nkonya and Alavanyo for 83 years has evaporated into thin

air and peace and reconciliation have taken over and are celebrated everyday. "We will hope for the best and be ready for the worst," he said. Very Reverend Buama said as the peace process moves to a

successful conclusion "rumours would come, let us investigate them and treat

falsehood with contempt".

Source: GNA