The National Peace Council (NPC) has organised a two-day capacity-building workshop on early warning and response mechanisms for municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The workshop is also to enhance their capacity in identifying early conflict signs for the necessary responses by the municipal and district security committees.
Furthermore, it will also equip the MDCEs to develop appropriate mechanisms to respond to potential or real conflicts in their various jurisdictions and in the country in general.
Speaking during the workshop in Sunyani, a Member of the Governing Board of the NPC, Reverend Dr Nii Amoo Darku, explained that the workshop was also structured to enable the MDCEs and Members of Parliament (MPs) to deal and speak on conflict issues from an informed position to enhance peace in their various districts, municipalities and constituencies.
The participants were taken through topics such as investigating conflicts to find their causes, impact, consequences and possible prevention and solutions, exploring available mechanisms for addressing conflicts and conflict reporting techniques, among others.
Need to end conflicts
Reverend Dr Darku emphasised the need to end recurrent inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflicts, chieftaincy and political party disputes globally.
He pledged the NPC’s support in raising awareness of the use of non-violent strategies in response to conflicts through networking, coordination and campaigning, in partnership with other development actors and agencies, to ensure peace in the country.
Rev. Dr Darku explained that before MDCEs could be tasked to maintain law and order, there was the need to sharpen their negotiation skills, confidence level, mediation and conflict resolution skills to support them in handling conflicts.
He said politicians who made public statements without being sensitive to their implications could heighten or create tension which could degenerate into violence, adding that a conflict-sensitive minister of state, MP or MDCE was a huge asset for rapid socio-economic transformation.
Rev. Dr Darku said peace was a requisite for sustainable development.
He said the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 was expected to ensure significant reduction of all forms of violence and related deaths and strengthen national and international institutions to prevent violence, combat terrorism and crime.
“Our interaction with some MDCEs reveals that there is a great need for skills building in conflict sensitivity in order for them to achieve the maximum in their development targets,” he said.
Role of MDCEs
Rev. Dr Darku explained that the role of MDCEs in resolving conflicts was more crucial, considering their potential contribution to the reduction of poverty, saying “poverty increases society’s vulnerability to conflict, while conflict itself generates poverty”.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, mentioned Asunafo North and South, Kintampo North and South, Sene, Tain, Banda and Wenchi as the hotspot districts and municipalities identified in the region.
He expressed worry about the insecurity situation in some parts of the region, especially Asunafo North and South, where politicians, religious leaders and some residents, including security personnel, had been attacked and harmed while lives and property had also been destroyed.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh entreated the MDCEs to take the workshop seriously to help them gain the requisite knowledge on how to identify early warning signs to enable them to work towards preventing conflicts in their areas.