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Peace building and conflict resolution



PEACE BUILDING AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Definition of peace building
Peace building can be described as a conscious or deliberate effort, by a person of group of persons, to create an atmosphere of harmonious living in society. Peace building requires concrete measures being put in place to ensure that people in a community live at peace with one another.

SOME SOURCES OF CONFLICT
Land deputes
One of the major sources of conflicts in Ghana is land disputes. Examples of such conflicts are the ones between Alavanyo and Nkonya, and the Tsito - Peki wars in the Volta Region of Ghana.

Chieftaincy disputes
Another source of conflicts in Ghana chieftaincy disputes. This is very common. These conflicts are normally caused by problems of succession to the throne. Examples of this kind of conflict include the Dagbon feud that has existed for many years and the ascension to the Anlo stool around the mid-2000.

Labour-related conflicts
There are often conflicts between organized labour and employers. An example of this type of conflict was the one between the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Ghana Education Service. These conflicts on the labour front centre on salaries and conditions of service.

Religious intolerance
This can also be a source of conflict in society. For example, the ban on drumming during by the Ga Traditional Council at certain period of the year has resulted in conflicts over the right to worship versus the right to the observance of traditional customary practices. Conflicts also arise between members of the same church on doctrinal differences.

Political conflicts
The activities of political parties have also sometimes generated conflicts in society. The two major political parties in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party, have always been at each other’s throat, especially during elections years. These political conflicts have sometimes spilled over to the society.

Unfair  treatments injustice
At times, a section of the society/nation feels that it is not being treated fairly in the distribution of the national cake, appointments to prominent positions in government. In other cases, people’s assets were unfairly confiscated; people were arbitrarily dismissed from the public service; people were publicly flogged, and some were arbitrarily executed. These violations of our national motto of “freedom and Justice” alienated a lot of people and created resentments and conflicts. In other words, disregard for the rule of law lies at the root of some of the conflicts that plague our society.

Desire of political leaders to entrench themselves in power
Some politicians do not want to leave power when it is time for them to go. Some also, in their inordinate desire to come to power employ various antagonistic measures to get to power. For example, ruling governments rig elections or manipulate the electoral process to gain advantage over their opponents. This can sometimes lead to conflicts with civil society groups and other politicians.

Unacceptable government policies
Some government policies can become the source of conflict in our society. The first introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Rawlings NDC government in the mid-1990s became a source of serious conflict between the ruling NDC and the opposition parties. An Alliance for Change was formed by the opposition parties to compel the government to withdraw the VAT.

The liberalization of the airwaves
Currently, there are over 300 private radio stations in Ghana whose programme content is becoming a new source of conflict in the society. Some of the programmes are very critical of the ruling government and others are very critical of the major opposition. This is becoming a new source of conflict.

Corruption
In Ghana, most of the politicians are perceived to be corrupt. This is due to the fact that while they tell the people to tighten their belts, they see their political leaders openly displaying wealth. Many of the coups that took place in Ghana since 1966 were justified on grounds of corruption.


THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONFLICTS
Destruction of Properties
Conflicts often result in the destruction of properties whether they are movable or immovable. In a conflict in the Northern parts of Ghana some years ago, about 442 villages were destroyed in the Yendi District alone.

Loss of skills
There is also loss of skills as a result of the death and/or non-return of skilled people to the conflict areas. Political instability and persecutions, ethnic cleansing etc. may push out a lot of a nation’s personnel into foreign lands leading to the lost of skilled doctors, teachers, administrators, etc.

Displacement of People
Another adverse consequence of conflicts is the displacement of people. In the Northern conflict in Ghana in 1994/95, many persons were displaced, covering seven administrative districts.

Loss of Lives
Conflicts result in the loss of precious lives. In the civil in of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire, over one million lives were lost. In the Northern conflict in Ghana, over a thousand lives were lost.

Decimation of population
Conflicts (in the form civil wars) decimate a population leaving large numbers of orphans and widows. For example, in Tinga in the Gushiegu/ Karaga District, for example, children from 14 households were counted as orphans who lost both parents as a result of a conflict.

Conflict leaves psychological scars
Many people who witnessed killings (during civil war), and/or are themselves victims of crimes such as torture may become traumatized for a long time, sometimes even the life. The wounds inflicted by conflicts may go festering even long after the end of the conflict.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. Explain the term “Peace building”
    b. Explain any five sources of conflict in your country.
2. Discuss any six effects of conflict on a nation.

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