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Tribal Violence Rears Ugly Head Again In Chereponi

Whenever tribal violence breaks out in any part of the country, my heart bleeds. But when it happens closer to home, it is particularly excruciating, in fact, heart-wrenching.
Reports of renewed clashes between Chokosis and Konkonbas who are close neighbors, drove me up the wall.

I am stunned and just cannot wrap my head around this latest outbreak of senseless violence between two tribal groups that are at the margins of Ghanaian society.

Previous clashes between the same groups late last year resulted in deaths, serious injuries and the destruction of properties. Apparently, lessons were not learnt from the earlier nasty, brutal and bloody encounter; the two groups are once again hacking and shooting each other to death.

This is not only destructive behavior that could make peaceful coexistence between the two groups a very difficult proposition, it would also ensure that distrust, suspicion and anger continue to hang in the air thereby defining members of the tribes and sabotaging every transaction that takes place between them.

Ultimately reaching a common ground to advance a joint agenda will be a tall order. Do Chokosis and Konkombas really want to live under these unhealthy circumstances and uncertain future? I would hope not.

Nobody knows, for sure, what may have triggered the latest eruption of violence, but whatever sparked the bloodletting, there was no excuse for the outburst we witnessed last week in Chereponi.

Two have been killed and forty houses destroyed. That is a hefty price to pay for tribal loyalties. In the heat of the battle, combatants always gloss over the fact that the legal system bequeathed to us by the British colonizers is there for a variety of purposes one of which is to settle disputes among neighbors.

Be that as it may, whoever felt that they had been wronged should have gone to court to seek legal redress. Resorting to violence wasn’t only illegal, it wasn’t also never an option. Taking the law into one’s hands constitutes a breach of laid down regulations and a stab at our cherished constitution.

As someone who hails from the northern region and a Chokosi, I am embarrassed by this latest tribal flare-up for a cluster of reasons; for one thing, we northerners could do better than killing each other off. And for another, violence only worsens our already precarious financial and economic standards compared to the rest of the country.

Northerners can’t continue to give ammunition to those who erroneously hold on to the unproven belief that northerners are prone to violence. We are not and that is a fact.
But to counter the widely held perception that we settle basic misunderstanding among us by shedding each other’s blood, we must find a way to reach compromises without gunning down our neighbors and friends or slitting their throats.

With the ugly events in Chereponi, one powerful message ought to be sent out to the combatants; “Ghanaians are becoming numb to daily reports of violence in the Chereponi area and could care less if you continue to engage in violent acts that only retard progress and development in your area and slow your quest to catch up with the rest of the country.”

The combatants should think long and hard about the immeasurable harm they are causing their town, the northern region, Ghana and those who will come long after they are dead and gone.

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