The National Peace Council (NPC) has organised a six-day capacity building workshop on security and peace building for about 90 stakeholders in peace processes in Sunyani, including members of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, queens, women and youth, as well as other key personalities in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The programme, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has become necessary for the participants to share experiences and empower each other in promoting a peaceful co-existence in the region in particular, and the country as a whole.
It was also designed for participants to deal with grassroots conflicts, as well as mediate in potential large-scale fracas from escalating into violence.
Addressing the participants, a member of the governing council of the NPC, Rev. Dr Nii Amoo Darko, observed that even though the Brong Ahafo Region was noted for its serenity, calmness and relative peace, that should not suggest that there were no conflicts.
He said the effort to build the capacity of chiefs, women and youth groups in security and peace building was very timely and critical.
The NPC governing council board member assured the nation that collaborative efforts were frantically ongoing to ensure that ‘‘this nation remains resolute, undivided, firm and peaceful even after the declaration of the verdict of the election petition by the Supreme Court”.
Dr Darko also used the occasion to call on all Ghanaians to remain peaceful and have confidence in the rule of law as ‘‘we chart the path of peace and justice together as a people’’.
The governing board member declared, ‘‘Nananom, as custodians of the region, it is very important that from time to time, a stakeholder participatory analysis of the conflict situation in the area is done and leadership dialogue and engagements facilitated to create the enabling environment to restore confidence for the necessary social changes to take place.’’
The Executive Secretary of the NPC, Mr Francis A. Azumah, noted that the chiefs and queens, who were the traditional authorities, reserved the right to ensure that peace always prevailed in their respective traditional areas, adding that the region was regarded as the food basket of the country and so there was no way to allow that accolade to slip through because of conflicts.
He, however, observed that conflicts were necessary components in the society and without it one could not discover the capabilities of the other but when the dispute was settled, the two parties normally began life afresh.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, explained that, peace building was the process of creating self-supporting structures that removed causes of conflict and offered alternatives to them in situations where conflicts might occur.
He stressed that conflict resolution mechanisms should be built into that structure and be present as a reservoir for the system itself to draw upon, just as a healthy body has the ability to generate its own antibodies and does not need ad hoc administration of medicine.
The vice President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Bofo Bene IV, who chaired the meeting, noted that conflicts were inevitable and emanated in all social lives but if they were not handled properly, they resulted in disasters and threatened the peace of an area and endangered the lives of the people.
He said Nananom, as custodians of ancestral heritage, did not want to carry their stools on their heads and run away to seek refuge in an unfamiliar land outside their respective jurisdictions, and added that peace was a good recipe for development.
By Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah