A former Deputy Attorney-General has proposed the upgrading of the slum around the conflict-prone Agbogbloshie in Accra as a solution for the recurrent violence, countering plans by the government to relocate residents.
Dominic Ayine says the fuel for the ethnic clashes in the area is the poor socio-economic conditions and the lack basic facilities like a police post, for instance, that the slum dwellers live in.
“They are citizens of this country that are leaving in indignity…They are leaving in conditions that are inhuman,” he said on the Joy FM/Multi TV news analysis programme, Newsfile, on Saturday.
Photo: Burning of electronic waste to retrieve metallic parts is the major occupation of the youth in the area
Photo: The Agbogbloshie Market has seen many fires caused by illegal electrical wiring
Two people died in clashes between Konkombas and Dagombas in the slum last on Tuesday. A third victim of the clashes, a pregnant woman, sustained severe injuries.
One account of the cause of the clashes is that a member of one of the two ethnic groups stole a phone owned by the other ethnic group. The suspected thief was beaten up but he mobilised people from his ethnic group for retaliation.
This degenerated into a free for all fight between the two ethnic groups.
Many analysts have blamed poor intelligence gathering by the police for the escalation of the conflict.
Similar conflicts have happened in the past, and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has suggested relocation of the residents as a permanent cure of the incessant clashes.
However, speaking on Newsfile, Mr Ayine said the poor living conditions in the area is a legitimate cause of the conflicts.
“As a country, we should be ashamed of ourselves that we are not doing anything to upgrade the slum and to improve the conditions of the own citizens who are there,” he said.
Mr Ayine’s suggestion was backed by a fellow panelist on the show, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako Jnr, who said although relocation of residents can end the clashes, improving the conditions in slums have also proven effective in ending violence in other countries.