The Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul will no longer lead in efforts toward ending the protracted conflict in Chereponi in the North East Region.
According to him, his frontline role ended after he assembled a group of opinion leaders from Konkomba and Chokosi factions as well as religious and led them to the conflict zone to interact with the communities last week.
This was a telephone conversation with Samson Lardy Anyenini, the host of weekly analysis programme on JoyNews TV/Joy FM on Saturday.
The Minister who is a Konkomba had said on last Friday that, his successful mission to engage the compatriots and Chokosis, shows his ethnicity is not a barrier to peace.
“He [Nitiwul] says after mobilising and successfully getting the opinion leaders of the various groups together to go and speak with the people directly. [They are] to get an audience and has led to what he maintains, is what has led to the calm that we have seen so far.
“He will not be on the forefront going forward. So the process would be done without him at the front any longer,” Samson announced after he got off the phone with the Minister.
The latest round of violence in the Konkomba-dominated district, where Chokosis remain the minority, marked the third of such incidents in the past five months. Two persons died. The toll of the fighting includes loss of properties, delayed development and humanitarian challenges.
The conflict is linked to a parcel of land reportedly two acres. But the land has ancestral significance and has become a matter of identity.
Calls of reassignment
There had been calls for the Minister to recuse himself from playing any role in resolving the conflict due to his attachment to one of the warring factions.
Earlier on the programme, security analyst and conflict resolution expert, Col. Festus Aboagye (Rtd), argued that the Minister should not lead the mediation because of the view held by some people that his compatriots may be enjoying some protection because of his position as Defence Minister.
Col. Festus Aboagye (Retired)
According to him, although views may have arisen from mere perceptions, they ought to be given serious consideration because they are “very important” in mediating conflicts.
The analyst, who traced the root of the conflict to the collapse of the Ashanti Kingdom during the colonial rule, favours the selection of someone who can bring a balance in the efforts to end the crisis.
Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte
Same was the view held by Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, who also spoke on the programme.
“If he [Defence Minister] cannot recuse himself, I think government will do him a lot of good by reassigning him,” he stated.
Faulty, unfair calls
But co-panelist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, opposes these arguments insisting that Mr Nitiwul’s position as Defence Minister could not be contested as a part of the violent conflict.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako
Although the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper agrees that the Minister should not be part of the political mediation, he kicks against calls for him be reassigned.
“It’s a faulty conclusion…it’s so unfair,” Baako argued.
Read also: IMANI Veep wants these three appointees sacked if Chereponi conflict continues
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