Bawku conflict government preoccupation - Asamoah-Boateng assures factions
The resolution of the Bawku conflict will be a major preoccupation of the government and as such everything will be done to prevent its escalation.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, who gave the assurance, therefore, appealed to the feuding factions in the fratricidal conflict to support the government’s bid to use dialogue to bring lasting peace to the area.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday after he had called on the factions in the conflict in Bawku.
It was his first trip to the area since assuming office a fortnight ago.
The separate meetings, which were attended by traditional leaders of the parties, were held behind closed doors.
Finding lasting solution
Notwithstanding the quest for lasting peace in the area, Mr Asamoah-Boateng said, the journey would be undertaken without compromising the rule of law.
“I know there will be difficulties along the way; there will be challenges; there will be compromises, but I know that the core values will be protected, so that you don’t compromise too much,” he added.
The minister indicated that the government had a very well laid out plan to prioritise areas that required immediate attention to bring closure to those protracted matters.
At the heart of the Kusasi-Mamprusi conflict are issues over litigation over allodial rights and chieftaincy.
Both sides claim allodial ownership of Bawku.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng described the trip as a listening engagement which was done with open-mindedness and said the next move was to put together a road map, with the input of all parties, taking cognisance of previous attempts.
He commended both sides for the reception and their clear support, which was an indication of their recognition that the government wanted to tackle the problem and resolve it once and for all.
The Chieftaincy Minister further said he had made it clear to the factions that the responsibility of the government was to maintain law and order for people to go about their duties peacefully, ensure respect for the rule of law and protect freedom of expression.
All those, he indicated, would be recognised along the way and acknowledged the fact that there would be challenges, the need for compromises in the process and the requirement for give and take.
He said the government also recognised that there were core positions or areas that should be recognised to provide a win-win situation for both sides, so that they could live in peace as one people.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng urged all interested parties to come to the table with their grievances and not to take entrenched positions while inflaming passions with their actions and commentary, adding that those with extremist stance must calm down and join the mainstream discussion.
He emphasised that no breach of the law would be countenanced because it was the responsibility of the state to protect all its citizens and curb or deal with illegalities according to the rule of law.
He bemoaned the fact that majority of issues affecting the security of the state were chieftaincy-related, saying it was worrying that most of those involved brother against brother and people of the same family and with emotional attachment.