Your Most Reliable and Dependable Source

Activities of Fulani herdsmen, sure are worrying, but answering violence with violence is not the solution


There is a firestorm slowly brewing in Agogo, but official response so far has been, besides deploying uniformed security forces, tepid at best. The danger here is that, if the problem is allowed to fester, it could potentially lead to tragic consequences, ultimately denting the nation’s much acclaimed reputation as a bastion of peace and stability.

I am referencing, of course, to the simmering hostility and tension between Fulani herdsmen and residents of Agogo. The level of hatred and vitriol has reached such heights that deaths have occurred, and there are no indications that the two warring groups are inclined to smoke the peace pipe.

As it is with conflicts, accusations and counter accusations are being thrown about by both groups. The Agogo citizens are pointing fingers at the herdsmen for the destruction of their farmlands and crops, rape of their women and murder of their menfolk.

On their part, the Fulani herdsmen accuse Agogo residents of aggressive behavior and being inhospitable. They also claim that the charges leveled against them are trumped up and vastly falsified to justify the current backlash.

Given the violence so far unleashed in Agogo, pleas for a common sense approach to solving the problem have come from public officials, traditional leaders and civil society groups. Sadly, however, the pleas have fallen on deaf ears;Agogo residents and the Fulani herdsmen are staunchly standing their grounds, even as the violence gets worse with each passing day.

The intransigence of the dueling groups not withstanding, what is troubling about the standoff between the two groups is the inability of government of government to bring about a peaceful solution and its abject failure to stamp its authority on the feuding parties.

Government cannot pretend that it was not aware of the simmering tensions between the groups given the numerous reports that had been written and filed by the media about the problem. Against this backdrop, one can justifiably argue that government should have made adequate preparations to contain any fallout.

It is worth noting that the people of Agogo and the Fulani herdsmen have the unique right as enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights to live in peace and harmony, and the guarantor of this peaceful coexistence is government. Both groups have the deserved right to wake up each morning and not expect to be hacked or shot to death by their perceived foe.

But, government, to say the least, has been found wanting in this regard. It seems it has abandoned its role as a peace maker, a peace enforcer. Frankly, as the violence continues to spiral out of control, government has been caught flat footed and to avoid the embarrassment of having blood on its hands, it has adopted a halfhearted measure ostensibly designed to keep the two fighting groups apart; armed security forces are now stationed in the township of Agogo to act as a buffer, a firewall against potential flareups. However, whether this security move would prove effective remains to be seen.

While government deservedly should be blamed for the situation in Agogo, one group of individuals, the employers of the Fulani herdsmen, must be bear a large portion of the blame. All the tension, hatred and subsequent bloodletting could have been averted only if these employers or cattle owners had invested their substantial financial assets in cattle ranches around the country, particularly in regions where land is abundant.

The three northern regions are ideal for this kind of business, and it is indeed a surprise that the businessmen have not explored this avenue. This is the modern method of raising cattle, but unfortunately as it is always the case in Africa, Ghanaian cattle owners are still trapped in the 15th century.

At this juncture it will not be out of place to issue a challenge to cattle owners. Given the  the constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers because of grazing, why don’t cattle owners take a long, hard look at other sources of food for their cows?  This is the  fundamental question they should be asking themselves; why should grass be the only source of food for cattle? Why can’t other food sources be developed?

Some of us have been quick to blame the Fulani herdsmen for the violence in Agogo because we believe they don’t belong in our society; we erroneously think they are foreigners, a dirty word if you ask me.

While it may be true that some segments of the Fulani ethnic group are nomadic, essentially stateless, it is pertinent to tread carefully and not treat them harshly lest we inadvertently violate their rights as members of ECOWAS and citizens of the world.

Let’s remember ECOWAS is an organization that guarantees free movement of people and goods within the West African region and it will not hesitate to come down hard on us if we as much as trample the rights of some of its members.

In these days of rapid global communication, it just takes the uploading of a video on a media platform such as What’s up, You Tube and Facebook, depicting violence against Fulani herdsmen to ignite revenge attacks against Ghanaians residing in some parts of Africa.

We sure don’t want that to occur, do we? I guess not. So, let’s stop the hyperventilating and hand wringing and find a lasting solution to what is essentially a fixable problem.




Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.