Eastern Region NDC blames Minister for renewed herdsmen crisis

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Renewed conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Kwahu East District of the Eastern Region has been blamed on the Regional Minister’s inability to provide a lasting solution.

Recently, more than 100 residents were displaced following reprisal attacks between the nomadic herdsmen and some community members at Dwibease and Wheewhee.

Some eight persons have lost their lives in the clash, according to police. Among the dead are five Fulanis and three local residents.

The region is a hotspot for the clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers who claim their farms are destroyed by the activities of the roaming herdsmen.

In a statement, the Eastern Region Secretariat of the National Democratic Congress blamed the situation on Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour’s “lackadaisical attitude towards providing short, medium and long term solutions suggests he is either incompetent, has a commercial interest in cattle rearing in the area, or is a beneficiary of nomadic activities in the area.”

Read the full statement signed by the party’s secretary in the region, Mark Oliver-Kevor.

INSECURITY IN KWAHU: EASTERN REGIONAL MINISTER IS EITHER INCOMPETENT OR HAS A COMMERCIAL INTEREST

The Eastern Regional Secretariat of the NDC, will like to sympathize with the families of our fellow citizens who needlessly lost their lives as a result of the atrocious activities of Fulani Herdsmen in the Kwahu Area.

It is regrettable to realize that since March of 2017, a number of schools in the Hweehwee areas of the Kwahu East District in the Eastern Region have been closed down. Teachers teaching in those areas have fled for their lives. Nurses and health workers working in those areas have also stopped working. Major Economic activities like farming and trading have come to a standstill and this has aggravated the already precarious situation  of the indigenes in the area.

Whilst we recognize that the effects of normadic activities in the Region is not a new phenomenon, its consequences have rather exacerbated within these few months. What is worse is that Government seems to throw its hands in despair, thereby signalling to the  people that they have no solution to this periodic menace.

This is evident from the comments of the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon Eric Kwakye Darfour, on several media platforms. The Regional Minister has shown gross insensitivity and poor responsiveness, ever since the latest attacks of which 8 or so innocent citizens lost their lives. He has not visited the area to demonstrate any assurance of safety and is reported to have said “I am not Captain Planet”.

His lackadaisical attitude towards providing short, medium and long term solutions suggests he is either incompetent, has a commercial interest in cattle rearing in the area, or is a beneficiary of nomadic activities in the area.

We have come across a release from the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council with the signature of the Regional Minister that seeks to make suggestions for the way forward. In the release, the Minister calls for a national dialogue on cattle rearing, facilitation of  dialogue between leadership of communities and Normads and promotion of policy that empowers the private sector in the management of the cattle industry.

In our view, none of these give assurance of safety in the area for natives to exercise their rights to move freely and be engaged in economic activities in the short, medium and long term.

We see these suggestions as  distractions and a way to  buy time, instead of providing workable solutions to the problem. The single reality is that our people are not safe on their own land and our environment risks getting degraded by the activities of these herdsmen.

We are calling on Government to show urgency in dealing with the rising lawlessness in the area. Government has the ultimate responsibility to protect citizens and their property.

We are calling on the Regional Minister to resign, if he feels overwhelmed by the enormity of his responsibility as the Regional Minister to allow   a more competent person to take over.

Our people, like all other citizens must be safe to go to school.

Our people must be safe to go to their farms.

Our Women must be safe to go to their markets and visit health facilities.

Our people must be safe to go about doing all other activities like all other citizens.

Thank you.

Signed

Kevor Mark-Oliver

Eastern Regional Secretary

2nd November, 2017

Koforidua

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