Conflict is inevitable. It is bound to happen whenever you have people with different expectations. This makes conflict management critical.
How do we work consciously to achieve peace? Throughout history, nations and people had come into conflict with one another, some of which had spanned so many years and caused so much hatred and destruction. Yet, thankfully, many were resolved through peace initiatives.
The harmful effects of conflicts and disagreements are very devastating. What happened in some countries in the West African sub-region some years ago shows clearly that conflicts can wreak havoc on a people if solutions are not found in good time.
In Ghana, disagreement among the people of Dagbon in the Northern Region that threatens the historical and long-standing blood relationship between Abudus and Andanis and which still awaits resolution is a cause for worry.
As a society, we have tried on many fronts to address the dispute but the desired result has been slow in coming. It is not an easy prospect attempting to resolve a conflict if the people in dispute are not committed to the process of mediation.
In Dagbon, the conflict has been allowed to drag on for too long. There are many ways to reach a people in any dispute, including generalised public education on mediation and increasing public awareness and making it generally accessible and available to them.
This can best be done in schools, if we teach youngsters conflict resolution. It can also be approached through public policy measures, promoting and funding dispute resolution centres.
One rural community in Dagbon has put in motion another way of solving the nagging Andani/Abudu divergence through sports (SEE STORY ON PAGE 31).
Through sports, the participants learn to avoid team or individual bias and demonstrate integrity as one of the greatest assets in a game.
The players strive to be confident and open and do not try to be defensive or justify their actions when the actions are clearly against the rules.
Additionally, decisions taken are clarified, where appropriate, based on the facts and the evidence presented.
Moreover, unacceptable behaviour is firmly and quickly dealt with and boundaries set in a polite, professional and assertive manner.
The Mirror says kudos to the youth of Gbulung who have decided, against the odds, to give peace a chance, no matter what the reasons for conflicts are.
It is important that the interests of the people are protected in order that they can maximise the benefits for their general good.
The cost of unmanaged conflict can be too high.