Ghana’s renamed peace under ‘stress’ – home minister

Minister of the Interior, Ambroise Dery

Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister of Home Affairs, said that despite Ghana’s relative peace, the country’s renowned peace architecture “is under strain” by some internal and external indicators.

Internal indicators, he said, included latent community conflicts over access to land and natural resources, and succession disputes between chiefs, particularly in the northern part of the country.

He cited graduate and youth unemployment, sporadic election violence and growing pervasive political vigilantism and conflicts between herders and farmers due to climate change, as other internal factors contributing to the relatively unpeaceful nature of the county.

The minister said the existence of pervasive ethnic and chieftaincy conflicts in northern Ghana and intra-religious clashes made the teaming unemployed youths vulnerable to radicalism and violent extremism.

Mr. Dery made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Interior, Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, during a retreat of the leadership and staff of the National Council for Peace.

He said external threats to the country’s peace and security emanate largely from West Africa and the Sahel, including the fallout from violent extremism, terrorism, acquisition and cross-border smuggling of small and illegal arms, drug trafficking and trafficking-related crimes.

Ghana, he noted, faces a potential threat of recruitment and radicalization, especially of young people, as the threat of violent extremism descends to the coastal states of the Sahel, with an increase in attacks in the Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The interior minister said the country’s strong interaction and proximity to Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Niger – all theaters of terrorist violence – had over the past four years prompted predictions and fears that the country could be the next target frontier for such radicalization and attacks in the West African sub-region.

He said “these threats could become a reality unless prompt and adequate measures are put in place.”

Dery said the Ghanaian government’s response to averting these imminent threats included signing the “Accra Initiative” with Burkina Faso in 2017, “Operation Conquered Fist” and developing a national framework in 2019 to prevent and counter violent extremism. and terrorism.

These approaches, he explained, were complemented by flexible governance and security mechanisms such as the National Peace Council’s preventive actions, and said the benefits of preventing sources of threats before they do not occur cannot be overstated.

“This echoes the recognition of the role of the National Peace Council to permanently integrate peacebuilding and conflict prevention into national security governance,” he said.

He stressed that it is imperative to put in place early warning and rapid response mechanisms in communities to integrate local solutions through monitoring, mitigation, resolution and management.

“These should include harnessing the knowledge of religious and traditional leaders, women’s groups, youth, local government officials and security agencies at district and community levels,” he added. .

The Minister reiterated that the role of the National Council for Peace has become increasingly instrumental in the context of imminent threats to peace, in particular the continuing tension and violence in Bawku in the Upper East region.

Reverend Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, Chairman of the National Peace Council, said the Peace Council continues to play its constitutional role to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts and build lasting peace.

He said that, in accordance with the law, the Council has played its role in preventing the recurrence of certain conflicts, in particular the conflicts of Doba Kadinga and Bawku in the Upper East region.

He said the Council continued to build its capacity in areas relevant to its work, including preventing and countering violent extremism, peace infrastructure and resilience training, responsibility to protect, management conflict and early warning systems and reporting.

Betty K. Park