Chief threatens to protect Sankore with guns against lawless party boys if...

BY: Biiya Mukusah Ali
Ogyedom Appiah Kubi, Omanhene of Sankore
Ogyedom Appiah Kubi, Omanhene of Sankore

The Sankore Traditional Council in the Asunafo South District of the Brong-Ahafo Region has threatened to arm citizens with guns to defend themselves if the government failed to protect them from rampant attacks perpetrated by political activists.

For many years, residents of the Sankore town and its surrounding communities have suffered from attacks perpetrated by sympathisers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Omanhene of the Area, Ogyedom Appiah Kubi, who gave the warning also threatened to boycott future general elections should the government fail to institute measures to curtail the lawlessness and violence between politicians in the area.

He was speaking at his palace last Friday after unidentified young men armed with machetes interrupted a programme to commemorate the 2018 International Peace Day celebration at Sankore.

Infuriated by the action of the unidentified youth, Ogyedom Appiah Kubi said after several years of voting in the area, residents of the area have not seen any improvement in their lives and rather accused politicians for fueling violence bringing and about instability in the area.


He said it was their grandfathers who established the Sankore town for them and not politicians, so they will not sit down to allow them to tarnish the image of the town.

Curfew

Ogyedom Appiah Kubi said if it would take the imposition of a curfew by the government on Sankore to ensure peace and curtail the rampant violence in the area, government should go ahead and do it.

He said the situation had led to the collapse of businesses and thus negatively affected livelihoods of residents and socio-economic development of the area.

Confusion

Last Friday's confusion erupted before the start of the programme, when a group of unidentified men, armed with machetes and other offensive weapons stormed the venue and asked the organisers of the programme to halt preparations for the ceremony.

The irate group first went to the venue to warn operators of the sound system to stop their arrangements, explaining that they would not allow the programme to be held at the area.

But the organisers refused to obey the order from the group and continued with their preparation.

Destruction

But members of the group went back on motorbikes, pulled machetes and other offensive weapons and destroyed plastic chairs arranged for the programme.

As the group continued to destroy the items onlookers, including journalists who were at the venue to cover the programme took to their heels for their safety.

Since the venue for the programme was near the Sankore Market, traders also took to their heels, and left their goods behind.

The journalists rushed to the media vehicle and were driven to the outskirts of the town.

At the time of the incident, there were no security personnel or any official from the Peace Council as well as government officials.

The programme, which was scheduled to start at 9am, rather started at about 1pm after a crunch meeting between officials of the Peace Council and the chiefs who decided not to attend the function due to the development.

Addressing the durbar later, the Brong Ahafo Regional Executive Secretary of Peace Council, Alhaji Suallah Abdallah-Quandah said it was unfortunate that people of Sankore and its environs had not been able to enjoy peace for a decade due the violent political rivalry between some members of the NDC and NPP.

He said a culture of impunity had thus taken deep roots in Sankore where all forms of lawlessness and criminal activities were gradually finding space under the guise of party politics.

"The violent situation has deteriorated to a point where the two factions attack each other at every least opportunity resulting so far in the loss of a number of lives and hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis worth of property as well as various degree of life threatening injuries on both sides", he stated.

Alhaji Abdallah-Quandah said the situation was becoming more complex, dangerous and widespread with time, adding that the violence has since been extended to Kukuom, Abuom and other major communities in the area.

That according to him, has really eaten deep into the moral and social fibre of the community whereby members of the two groups no longer respect laws of the state, neither do they respect the traditional and religious institutions in the community.

“It has gotten to a point where every change in government leads to internal displacement of some members of the community, whereby members of the party in opposition at any given time must leave the community to avoid being attacked by members of the party in government”.

Lack of commitment

Alhaji Abdalla-Quandah said the council with its stakeholders were committed to resolve the situation, but often faced lack of commitment from political leadership, explaining that the poor commitment had promoted and sustained the violence up to date.

He appealed to all stakeholders and citizens of Sankore to co-operate and support the council and the Sankore Peace Committee to work for the best interest of the area.