Speaking on a United Nations global platform on Monday, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia pointed out that in the light of the worsening spiral of conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, it is imperative that stronger nations join hands with weaker ones in preventing these conflicts.
Conflicts abound in Africa – from internecine fights over grazing and cropping lands, through rights to chieftaincy and water bodies, to jobs, education and political power.
The worst have been ethnic conflicts, which appear to have afflicted nearly every region in Africa, besides what politicians infect communities with for political profit.
In Nigeria and the Sahel, the saga of communities rich in oil, but which economic opportunities are denied local residents, as well as recurring fights between nomadic entities and indigenous settlers over farm and grazing lands, are common. These usually give rise to the formation of armed militias and rampaging vigilantes.
Thankfully, Ghana still stands out as the oasis of peace, though we occasionally record cases as we have had recently in Bawku and other flashpoints up North, as well as the land guard phenomenon and lingering but suppressed chieftaincy disputes across communities in the country.
Vice-President Bawumia was spot on in saying that poverty, most of the time, is the cause of such conflicts everywhere in the world.
In fact, poverty usually provides fertile grounds for desperate youth and criminal minded persons to take the law into their hands, with gun runners making handsome gains at the expense of communal and national stability.
What, however, makes the threat real, and hence calls for collective effort and global partnerships in fighting these conflicts decisively, is the recent military takeover in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso, touted as a nation of ‘gentle’ people during the Blaise Compaore regime, has surprised the world with another coup. Equally surprising was the response from the very youthful citizenry who heralded the entry onto the political scene of President Marc Roch Kabore with an anti-military revolt that ousted Blaise Compaore.
Yet, this was the same citizenry that had fought off a military takeover by one of Compaore’s lieutenants in the coup that brought on Compaore himself.
We must also take note of the fact that the mutineers had cited lack of opportunities and failure on the part of the Kabore government to unite the country. That highlights the truth about access to opportunities, including inclusiveness in power sharing at clearly defined levels.
Collective pain and fortunes
For those who pathologically ape ethnic sentiments and put ethnicity above objectivity and political realities, this is time to join the party in agreeing on programmes that benefit our youth and the aged.
We must also admit that conflicts, whatever their levels, are not meant to excite the beast in us, but the best in showing competence in resolution and sharing of resources and opportunities.
Of course, we would need our global partners in designing relevant programmes. However, the responsibility rests on us in the long run to appreciate our situation and decide where we are going.
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