Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Understanding the Protracted Conflict Between Alavanyo and Nkonya

It is very heart-breaking that at a time when more resources are needed for socio-economic development in various parts of the country, some of these resources are being used to enforce and maintain peace in some conflict zones.

One of such conflict areas is Alavanyo-Nkonya which over the weekend witnessed the death of a middle age woman. 

History has it that the Alavanyos migrated from Saviefe through Akrofu to Sovie, near Kpando, to settle on land allocated to them by Nkonya in about 1840.

Initially, they were good neighbours, but later on became antagonistic towards each other because of differences over the ownership of land.

This conflict has lasted for close to one hundred years. On the causes of the conflict, one school of thought thinks that diversity of groups in society, in this case ethnic identities, are more prone to conflict.

This position is, however, unacceptable because other multiple entities have existed for centuries without threat of violence.

A fundamental cause of the conflict centres on people’s inability to get access to a basic need such as land for farming.

This is what has become a recipe for violence. Hence, the conflict is primarily caused by a dispute over land, a basic human need which finds its drive for violence in the differences of the two ethnic groups.

Indeed, the conflict remains latent until triggered by the activities of individuals such as unprovoked killings, unauthorised burning and cutting of timber and also farming on other people’s lands, among others, as well as the negative perceptions and opinions formed by each group of people about the other.

The consequences of the protracted conflict between Nkonya and Alavanyo include a situation of hopelessness and uncertainty of physical security, needless killings, destruction of properties, institutional deformity and destruction of communication channels that could have been used for dispute resolution.

For all these reasons, the residents of the Alavanyo-Nkonya area have been living in fear and mutual suspicion with each other for a very long time.

With regard to the persistence of the conflict, it must be acknowledged that although many efforts have been made at resolving it, the issue continues to persist because apart from non-execution of the various judgments of the courts on land ownership in the area there is lack of punitive measures against those who violate the law.

The Alavanyo-Nkonya conflict cannot be allowed to continue forever.

The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery has announced government’s preparedness to resolve the conflict by initiating a dispute resolution mechanism for peace to prevail in the area.

According to him, his outfit is working closely with the Regional Security Council and National House of Chiefs to find an amicable solution to the almost a century old conflict that has led to many deaths.

It is good that the Ministry for the Interior has been pragmatic in terms of provision of security for the area.

What the country needs today is an acceptable, satisfactory, realistic and comprehensive solution to the age-long conflict.

In attempting to resolve the problem, all contributory factors, particularly the fundamental issues involved, must be taken into consideration to ensure the attainment of everlasting peace.

This is very necessary because any attempt at resolving the issue without addressing the fundamental factors relating to the conflict will at best only succeed temporarily even though a permanent solution is what is needed.


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