Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Stool disputes pose threat to security – Lecturer
By: WILLIAM YAW OWUSU
Chieftaincy disputes have been identified as the main threat to local level security and peace in the country.
Mr. Richard Abankwa Agyepong, a lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), who made the observation, also cited exploitation of ethnic and religious differences by some “powerful elements” in society as another major threat to peace and security at the local level.
He was speaking on the topic “Security and peace-building at the local level” at the institute in Madina, Accra at the weekend.
The workshop was organized by the ILGS, in collaboration with the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programe (GRAP), as part of efforts at improving areas of governance, security and peace-building, as well as human resource development in the country.
It was part of the ‘Saturday Institute’ programme being organized by ILGS for research and advocacy organizations (RAOs) and other stakeholders to provide an input for implementation and review of the decentralization policy.
Last week’s edition, under the theme “Security and peace-building”, was attended by some district chief executives, presiding members, representatives of research institutions, non-governmental and community-based organizations.
Mr. Agyepong further identified land ownership also as a threat and weak security infrastructure, poverty and illiteracy as well as resettlement and creation of new settlements as sources of conflict or insecurity.
He said with the problems identified, there was the need to use constructive engagement and creative approaches that provide incentives to peace and actively engage the youth in peace-building.
He also called for the reinforcement of local capacities to influence public policy and tackle social and political exclusion.
Ms. Oury Traore, Regional Programmes Manager of West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), dwelling on the collaborative peace-building efforts with ECOWAS and civil society organizations in west Africa, said the network was in constant touch with communities as far as conflict prevention was concerned.
She said WANEP continues to pay particular attention to the emerging capacity-building needs of its networks and partners, adding, “in order to ensure an effective regional conflict prevention mechanism, we are expanding our communication infrastructure”.
Professor T.B. Wereko, Chairman of the ILGS Council, said the institute would continue to create avenues for all stakeholders to consolidate the local governance process.
The Ghanaian Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2007 Page 28