Friday, October 12, 2007
UN TEAM TO STUDY NKONYA, ALAVANYO PEACE INTIATIIVE
By: WINSTON TAMAKLOE, NKONYA
The peace-building process adopted by the United Nations (UN) to end eight decades of conflict between the people of Nkonya in the Jasikan District in the Volta Region, is to be replicated in solving international disputes.
In furtherance of this, a four-member high-powered delegation from the UN, led by Dr. Ozonia Ojielo, Senior governance advisor of the United Nations Development Programme are in the country to under study the processes that has resulted in the ceasefire since 2004.
Other members are Mr. Keith Wright, Senior Secretary, Inter-Departmental Framework for Cooperation for Early Warning and Conflict Prevention, Ms. Shani Cooke, Associate Political Affairs Officer, Development of Political Affairs and Mr. Frances Azumah, Peace and Governance Advisor.
The delegation on Tuesday held a meeting with the mediation and the consultative committees of the Nkonya and Alavanyo conflict reconciliation committees and held separate interactions with the chiefs and people of the communities.
The leadership of the delegation will present a comprehensive report for adoption by countries and communities within countries engaged in protracted conflicts.
At the meeting with the communities the chairman of the Mediation Committee, Right Reverend (Dr) Livingston Buama, the Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, took the delegation through the processes since the formation of the two committees in 2004, and commended the Government, West Africa Network for Peace Building and the Ho Diocesan Peace Building Secretariat for their support and assistance which had resulted in the ceasefire.
He told the delegation that series of workshops, meetings and interaction with the leadership and youth frequently were held even though initially they were tension-filled.
Rev. Buama disclosed that the two communities had allowed a licensed surveyor to demarcate the area who is yet to send a report to the committees for study.
“The two communities even though are sited in two different districts are close to each other and inter-married, but a parcel of land which became a bone of contention for over eight decades has claimed thousands of lives and the worst affected were women and children,” he lamented.
Mr. William Kpende, vice-chairman of the Consultative Committee, noted that a lot of sacrifice had been made from 2004 to date appealed to the UN for financial and logistical support so that by the end of the year, the processes would be completed to pave the way for accelerated development.
He said the people had vowed to ceasefire and never return to war and since the security agencies left three months ago, the guns have remain quite and the peace-building processes is yielding results through constant communication.
Responding, Dr. Ojielo commended the two committees for the processes for normal life to return to the two communities to take up economics activities to ameliorate their plight.
He assured of the UN’s monitoring mechanism of the committees and the communities and support and assistance in diverse ways so that through re-orientation and transformation, economic activities would bounce back to create jobs and wealth for the people.
Mr. Wright was hopeful that the presence of the UN delegations would hasten the processes for those who had fled the areas and those fanning the conflicts from outside won’t be encouraged through their will to complete the processes.
During their separate interaction with the communities, the Paramount chief of Nkonya and Alavanyo, Nana Okoto III and Togbega Tsedze Attakora VII, assured the delegation that there was no turning back in the peace building process and that they were tired of war that had impoverished them and appealed to the delegation to support and assist them to revive economic activities.
Mr. Solomon Donkor, Jasikan District Chief Executive, cautioned that the government would no longer invest in conflicts and that there was the need to sustain the peace pipe they had smoked to pave the way for accelerated development or they would be left behind.
The Ghanaian Times Friday, October 12, 2007 Page: 22