An Expository Study on Peace Building and Conflict Management in Alavanyo and Nkonya Conflict, Ghana

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Conflict is one of life’s most unavoidable realities, and it is an inextricable element of our existence. It may be found at all levels of human civilization and in many forms. The concept of conflict has attracted a lot of attention and interest all around the globe. According to Weber’s social stratification, society is divided into three categories: class (economic order), status groups (social order), and parties (political order), which are regarded as the source of power distribution within society, resulting in social disparities and inequalities. All of these things influence and are influenced by one another. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Africa was portrayed as a continent riven by war and bloodshed, always on the verge of extinction. As a result, Africa stands out as a continent that is particularly violent, a region where force and war make people’s daily lives even more humiliating than in other impoverished areas of the globe. Ghana has struggled to settle violent inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflict. Some of these battles have been going on for nearly a century. The fight between the inhabitants of Nkonya and Alavanyo in the Volta Region over a disputed piece of land is one example. The Nkonya are a Guan-speaking people who live in the Jasikan District, whereas the Alavanyo are in the Hohoe District and speak Ewe. The violent struggle between the Nkonya and Alavanyo goes back to 1923, according to Tsikata & Seni (2004), quoted in (Mahama 2010:131). Anecdotal evidence indicates, however, that the war began in 1903. At the time, the stakes were a contested piece of property. The area in question, according to Tsikata and Seni (2004), quoted in (Mahama 2010), is excellent forest acreage rich in wood species, bamboo, and cola nuts, and has also been utilized for cocoa, oil palm, and food crop cultivation. The property dispute arose from border demarcations made on a map by a German surveyor called Grunner in 1913. The Grunner Map is the name of this map (GM). During the era of German colonization of the region before to World War I, the map was allegedly used to resolve land disputes amongst the Nkonya/Alavanyo people. Various efforts to settle the dispute have been made. A series of lawsuits in the courts over the contested land was one of the efforts. For example, four court decisions between 1957 and 1980 were all decided in favor of Nkonya, according to a reply published by Komla Tom in the (Chronicle 4th November, 2003:) The decision was based on a 1913 Grunner Map depicting the contested land’s border. According to Anane Quist of the (Evening News, 3rd March, 2003), a spokesman for the Nkonya chiefs said during a press conference that there was no land dispute in the region since it had been resolved by the Court of Appeal in 1975. As a result, he determined that the Alavanyo people were causing all of the problems in the region in order for the government to interfere and allow them to re-litigate. Tom in the (Chronicle 4th November, 1997) informed that the Alavanyo side has a different stance on the court judgments, which is not unexpected. They claim that the 1913 Grunner map used to make the judgments was inaccurate and too tiny in size, and therefore was never meant to be used as a foundation for border delineation. In support of their viewpoint, they have referenced three colonial and post-colonial court decisions (Ghanaian Times 15th February, 1997:8 Letter to Togbega Tsedze Attakora VII, Fiaga of Alavanyo). The Mireku Committee, which argues that “the execution of the court’s judgment would not assist to foster peace between the two traditional regions,” seems to endorse this viewpoint (Mireku, quoted in letter of Togbega Tsedze Attakora, Fiaga of Alavanyo. Ghanaian Times 15rh February, 1997:8). In 1983 and the 1990s, there were more escalations. During these times, the war took on a new shape, with occasional violence, murders, and maiming becoming commonplace. Fear, uncertainty, insecurity, tension, mistrust, hate, and bitterness resulted as a result of this. The two groups lived as though they were separated by an iron curtain. People living near the shared boundary were unable to sleep in their houses. Every kind of social connection was broken. Blood relatives were unable to meet or converse freely. As a consequence, the two traditional regions’ socioeconomic conditions remained stagnant. Hunger and destitution were prevalent. Because the locals are farmers, the conflict has prevented them from accessing the land. Education has come to a halt. The two-kilometer route that connects the two communities is now inaccessible. Some civil society organizations, such as the Catholic Relief Services, have tried to reach agreements, but to no avail. Since 1996, notable people and social organizations have worked to bring opposing populations together to speak about peace. In 1997, the Alavanyo Youth Association, for example, asked for a high-powered commission to investigate the issue and settle it once and for all, rather than waiting for hostilities to break out and the perpetrators to be apprehended (Ghanaian Times November 15, 1997). Dr. Kwabena Adjei, a Nkonya citizen, and William Kpende, an Alavanyo citizen, are two notable people. Reconciliation efforts were also undertaken by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The church made sure that people from opposing groups came together to commemorate all anniversaries. The church’s participation was ascribed to the fact that the bulk of the residents in the conflict areas were church members (Ghanaian Times November 15, 1997:9). Both the individuals’ and the church’s efforts were generally uncoordinated. Many of the conflict’s major players were not targeted. As a result, it had little, if any, impact on the variables that might lead to a re-escalation. Hostilities resurfaced in 2003. The magnitude of the escalation was shocking. “Lives were lost on a regular basis,” according to William Kpende. As a result, appeals were made to the Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to find a solution to the issue. Individuals attempted to promote peace in their areas and among their own people. This went on until the Mireku Committee was established to settle the dispute after an appeal to the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) was heard. Government initiatives have mostly consisted of ad hoc measures centered on maintaining peace. Dr. Kwabena Adjei, the Member of Parliament for Biakoye, appealed to the government in February 2003 to deploy soldiers to the area to stem the tide of frequent conflicts and the resulting loss of lives, as well as to establish a high-powered committee to investigate the conflict and define the two areas’ boundaries (Daily Graphic 1 st March, 2003). In the same year, at the request of two Volta Regional Members of Parliament, the Volta Regional Minister went to Parliament to address questions about the disputes and government attempts to settle them (Daily Graphic 4th November, 2003). Tom (2003:) revealed that the Volta Regional Security Committee had deployed a police military taskforce in the Nkonya – Alavanyo area since September 2002. Members of Parliament were also invited to assist with conflict resolution and held separate meetings with the chiefs and people of the two areas (Daily Graphic 4th November, 2003:5). The issue remained unresolved until the Volta Regional Coordination Council (VRCC) was petitioned to act in 2004. In response, the VRCC sponsored a procedure in which the disputing parties chose a Mediation Committee to assist in the resolution of the dispute. Both sides’ chiefs found it difficult to address customary issues of mutual interest. However, the methods utilized to manage the dispute have not been revealed, which may help with conflict resolution attempts.

1.2 Statement of the problem

A conflict, according to the conventional definition, is the outcome of competing objectives involving limited resources, goal divergence, and dissatisfaction. Conflict arises when two or more individuals engage in a battle over values and claims to status, power, and resources, with the opponents’ goals being to neutralize, harm, or exterminate their opponents, according to Coser (1956). According to Coser, contending parties are in a competition or battle for their identity, resources, or power, and they are attempting to harm one another. One feature of Coser’s definition worth noting is that it highlights the causes of conflicts, which include disputes over people’s identity, authority, and resources. As a result, conflict is a fight between two parties, which may be good or bad, in pursuit of interests and objectives with which they strongly disagree. This, in turn, has led to conflict resolution specialists and the whole community looking for methods to settle the dispute in the Nkonya and Alavanyo regions, as well as other ethnic conflicts throughout the nation, in order to limit their effect on development efforts.

1.3 Objective of the study

The primary objective of the study is as follows

  1. To investigate the cause of the conflict between Nkonya and Alavanyo areas
  2. To examine the approach adopted by the mediation committee in the management of Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict.

iii.      To Examine the procedures used by the mediation committee in the management of the Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict

  1. To Examine the factors that were considered in selecting the mediation committee members for the  management of the Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study

  1. Is there a cause to the conflict  between Nkonya and Alavanyo areas?
  2. What are the approach adopted by the mediation committee in the management of Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict?

iii.      What are the the procedures used by the mediation committee in the management of the Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict?

  1. What are the factors that were considered in selecting the mediation committee members for the  management of the Nkonya – Alavanyo conflict?

1.5       Significance of the study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

  1. This study will examine An expository study on peace building And Conflict Management in Alavanyo And Nkonya Conflict, Ghana.
  2. The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, conflict management agencies in Ghana and academia.

1.6       Scope of the study

The study will examine An expository study on peace building And Conflict Management in Alavanyo And Nkonya Conflict, Ghana.

1.7       Limitation of the study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

 just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by  the researcher ,in getting relevant materials  and  in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.8       Definition of terms

Peace building:  the development of constructive personal, group, and political relationships across ethnic, religious, class, national, and racial boundaries

Conflict management: the practice of being able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently

REFERENCES

Coser, L. (1956). Conflict and Critical Theories. The Free Press

Tsikata and Seni, (2004). Nkonya – Alavanyo Conflict in Mahama Edward, 2010; Conflicts in Ghana, strategiesstakeholders and the way forward. (pp. 47-55) Published by Centre for continuing education and Inter –disciplinary Research (CCEIR), University for Development Studies.

Weber, M. (1978). Law in Economy and Society. New York: Simon and Schuster.

 

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