By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Monday, July 25, 2016
The truth must be underlined here that those against the activities of the Fulanis are not schizophrenic or savages who hate to see others make progress in their chosen fields of human endeavour. They are simply unhappy that the Fulani presence undermines their own chosen vocations. They won’t lose any sleep for their crops and other property are not endangered by these Fulani herdsmen whom they have accommodated for as long as the Fulanis have been in Ghana, moving their animals about. But the problem now is that the devastation being caused by the uncontrolled grazing is intolerable. It is clear that the Fulani herdsmen have found some “authority” somewhere to move their activities a notch higher with the wrong impact.
Nobody will take them on if they don’t encroach on others’ legitimate means of livelihood. And rather painfully, they do so with so irritating an impunity as to make the victims wonder whether there is any system of law and order to secure individual rights to property and personal security. That is where the beef lies for the government to act on.
Left to the aggrieved sections of the populace alone, anything could go; but it shouldn’t be so in a democracy. That is why the ball is being pushed into the court of the government (the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary) so something reasonably fulfilling can be done to solve the problem.
So far, it has only been the Executive that has put in place some half-hearted measures. No closure. The Legislature isn’t working on the problem to pass laws to be interpreted and enforced so the problem can be solved once and for all for all those with a stake in space in resources in the country to have their peace of mind and do what will put bread on the table. Why are our public officials so callous? At this point, it is clear that the Fulanis will mobilize whatever forces (economic, political, ideological) that they identify to fight their cause. Then, when all is set for an explosion, the wailing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth will become the lot of those who have no political connections to exploit. Too pathetic for Ghana’s democracy at this stage.
Finally, an Association of Fulanis in Ghana has emerged!!
Folks, the controversy surrounding the activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Ghana is assuming frightening dimensions that we must not gloss over. Having plied their nomadic trade of animal husbandry all over the country and destroyed life and property, these Fulanis seem not to know the extent to which they have provoked public anger against them; neither do they care a whiff about the implications. They have now chosen to form an association to safeguard their interests and to seek support from their kith and kin all over the world as if they are a target of “genocide” in Ghana who must do all in their power to be alive and kicking in the Ghanaian dispensation.
The reality on the ground says otherwise. There is nothing wrong with Fulanis in Ghana forming such an association but there is a lot wrong with what I have read into the objectives of such an association, especially, given the rhetoric emerging from its own quarters (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Fulani-herdsmen-are-not-threat-to-security-Association-of-Fulanis-457770).
Indeed, the Fulanis in Ghana are not an endangered species; but from the operations of their nomadic herdsmen and the confrontations taking place all over the country where they register their presence, they are a threat and will be constructed as such. Whatever threatens security in any part of Ghana that cannot be contained by the local authorities ramifies automatically into a national threat. No triviality here. It is the unrestrained activities of nomadic Fulani herdsmen moving about in Ghana with their animals and causing massive devastation that has alarmed the people to warrant their being put on the spot.
Others of Fulani extraction in positions of trust in the system who don’t indulge in what their nomadic othe3rs do have no fear to seek solace in any association to protect interests. And they are all over the country. Only those whose activities have exposed them as a threat to the system need fear. What must really be propping them up this way? What must be giving them the conviction and confidence that they can continue stepping on toes without any respect, fear, or regard for the repercussions?
Those of us who have written opinion pieces on the Fulani menace all this while haven’t minced words in saying that it is a major problem that has destabilized social and economic lives in many parts of the country where the Fulani presence is established and felt. We have questioned the lethargy of the political authorities (including the government and its functionaries, chiefs, opinion leaders, and prominent people in the areas so far invaded and devastated by the Fulanis and their marauding cattle). We will continue to do so until something drastic is done to solve the problem.
We will do so, informed by the negative politics being done about this Fulani menace by some forces who see every happening in contemporar5y Ghana through their political blinkers without regard for reality. Evidence exists that wherever these nomadic Fulanis go, chaos erupts—as their freely grazing cattle devour anything “green” in front of them, mostly the crops of Ghanaian farmers struggling to eke out their livelihood through their God-given asset. Why do these Fulanis think that what is good for their animals is not good for the poor Ghanaian farmer whose property is being violated and vandalized?
Of all places so far trampled upon, the Asante Akyim area in the Ashanti Region stands out for comment because of the ramifications. Physical confrontations and destruction of limb and property have come to notice. Too much happening here, even at the level of partisan politics as far as reaction to the menace is concerned. We don’t want to recount all the instances; but we can say with all confidence here that nothing concrete is being done to solve the problem despite the shedding of blood and the massive destruction of crops by the Fulani herdsmen in this area.
Interestingly, the area has produced award winners at the District Best farmer Awards ceremony under the auspices of the National Farmers’ Day. Their SOS messages went unheeded as the Fulani marauders led their cattle to destroy everything done by the. Pathetic!!
The District Security Committee, the Regional Coordinating Council and the National Security Council are toothless bulldogs that have barked so long as to even lose their voices. Nothing concrete achieved despite so much dissipation of energy. Poor souls. Why is it so?
I shall return…
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