A security analyst, Dr Kwesi Aning, has said the clashes that happened in Agblobloshe on Tuesday in which 30 houses were razed to the ground was the result of an overflow of the negative sentiments of residents there aroused during the elections by politicians.
The clashes had other underlying factors, such as, youth unemployment and ethnic identities.
In an interview, Dr Aning said the campaigns for the 2008 election released “mega forces that encouraged people to use violence.”
“Unfortunately, political party leadership after the election have not been able to tell their people to pull back from the brink of violence, and the result is what is currently being witnessed.
Dr Aning who heads the Conflict Prevention, Management & Resolution Department (CPMRD) of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), said all the major political parties had in their behaviour, rhetoric and in their mobilisation of people, appealed not to the higher instincts of Ghanaians, but the base.
Once the political parties opened up the Pandora’s Box and let out a culture of violence, it then became impossible to reign in their people.
Dr Aning said it was very easy in appealing to the base instincts of supporters of political parties when the parties were campaigning for power.
Moreover, in the campaigns, political violence had been excused and people had rationalised of violent acts in so far as it was for political ends.
Dr Aning said it was time for politics to be delinked from violence and people to be impressed upon not to use violence as a solution to grievances.
He called on the government and the political parties to start a process of “honest, transparent and respectful dialogue” to allow parties in the Agboblohie conflicts to let out their grievances for resolution.
“What both parties are not accepting is the responsibility that they brought out of Ghanaians these base instincts during the election,” he added.
With the election over, there was the need for a holistic approach in resolving the conflict, having in mind the fact that the conflict had its basis in conflicts translated by some from certain parts of the country like the North to the area.
Dr Aning was of the view that the intensive peace initiatives embarked on by civil society organisations, governmental agencies and individuals prior to and during the election because of the heightened concern and awareness of conflicts in such areas prevented the eruption of clashes as people became conscious and did not want to be seen indulging in acts that disturbed the peace.
A research conducted by the CPMRD prior to the December 2008 election, identified Agbobloshie as one of the flash points with the potential for clashes, tension, violence and disruptive acts prior to, during and after the elections.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2009, PG 1