Posted by: rumnet | January 8, 2012

Dagbon Conflict Benefits Some People

Dagbon Conflict Benefits Some People

(Published in the December Edition of the advocate)

By Josephe Ziem

Kampakuya-Naa Abdulai, Andani’s Regent

Bolin-Lana Mahamadu Abdulai, Abudu’s Regent

Efforts by government and other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the Dagbon Chieftaincy problem has been frustrated due to the selfish interest of certain individuals and groups who consider it to be a lucrative business for them to amass wealth.

According to Mr Theophilus Ibrahima Dokurugu, a Board Member of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), “the Dagbon Conflict is now a business to certain people in both the Abudu and Andani royal gates than a chieftaincy problem and many of them will not be able to feed themselves and their families when the two feuding families finally decide to reconcile.”

Speaking at a day’s capacity building workshop organized by Rural Media Network (RUMNET) in Tamale recently for selected Media Practitioners drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, Mr Dokurugu pointed out that those who are stoking the fires in the Dagbon Conflict would remain paupers when the conflict is over, hence their desire to ensure that no solution is found to the problem.

The workshop, which was under the theme: “Reducing Conflict through Peace Journalism,” was aimed at exploring the use of early warning signals and conflict transformation in peace reporting, as well as to improve upon the skills of journalists on conflict reporting. It was funded by the Northern Peace Initiative (NPI).

Peace journalism is the art of news reporting that encourage journalists to reflect more accurately on finding the actual cause of conflicts or violence, putting them into context and reporting on them professionally.

The WANEP-Ghana Board Member explained that the media is inextricably bound in conflict and war, adding: “when the first shot is fired, truth, it is said, is often the first casualty as competing sides manipulate the media to mobilize populations, hide the grim realities of death and atrocity  and demonize their opponents.”

Mr Dokurugu observed that war-mongers in the Dagbon Crisis continue to fight their battles over the airwaves and in the newspapers, competing for advantage, justifying their campaign and undermining moves towards peace and reconciliation that may cost them their ill-gotten wealth and positions of influence and power.

He said it was the responsibility of journalists to understand how much their involvement may influence events in a conflict situation, dig beneath the surface of entrenched feuding/warring positions and question whether they are being exploited by media-savvy players in a conflict to promote the war aims of one side.

Mr. Dokurugu cautioned journalists to beware of anyone who suggests that violent conflict is inevitable, saying: “Violent conflict happens for reasons, and is driven by people. Sometimes a leader or even a government provokes conflict as a means of securing control.”

He advised journalists in Northern Ghana to avoid the use of emotionally-charged language, hate speech, dehumanizing language, incitement to violence, bias, and rather find neutral terms that avoid taking sides, be fair, while overly emotive images should be used with extreme care.

The Media Director of RUMNET, Mr Alhassan Imoru, in a welcome address, observed that the three northern regions of Ghana have over the years been synonymous with violent conflicts as a result of numerous chieftaincy, land and ethnic problems.

The media, he said, rightly or wrongly been blamed for this stereotyping of the north, even though violent conflicts are rife in other parts of the country.

According to him, most conflict- related reports usually tend to exarcebate  the already tense situations that in no way serve the interest  of society adding: “Many reports about events in Bunkpurugu/ Yunyoo, Yendi, Buipe, Bimbilla and Bawku, have their facts sometimes exaggerated to the extent of inclusion of fabrications and distortions.”

Mr. Imoru challenged media practitioners to do things differently by promoting peace and security, saying: “ You can do this if your reports seek to build cultural bridges and break down structural barriers that seem to foster conflicts.”

Mr. Albert Yelyang, Data Analyst at WANEP-Ghana, took participants through “Early Warning Signals,” “Conflict Transformation” and “Peace Reporting.”

According to him, human security which has pillars of Peacebuilding, Food and Income Securities as well as Livelihood Empowerment, when properly reported on by the media could help to reduce the conflict situations that currently exist in the North.

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Responses

  1. Great article. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..


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