While some public authorities are corrupt and inept at their mandates they still want to abuse their power and do whatever it takes to stop concerned citizens from using their own money and talents to help this country, Ghana. I nearly lost my life and below is my story.
I have always been worried about the many land, tribal, and chieftaincy violent and bloody conflicts across the country. Not only that innocent people are killed and properties are destroyed but also the general cost to the nation. This so claimed intractable violent conflicts cost the nation millions of Ghana cedis in management, deployment of police and military for peacekeeping missions. Governments also claim to have been spending millions of Ghana cedis engaging individuals and institutions in peacebuilding activities in these conflicts.
In 2013, the over 100years Alavanyo-Nkonya bloody conflict, located in the northern Volta region became more intense and dangerous again. The violent clashes returned, some people were kidnapped and killed, some people were shot dead and some farms and house were set ablaze. Government, as usual, sent the military and the police to restore calm and the unproductive curfew was re-imposed.
So I was moved by a passionate concern to intervene using my organisation, (YPSA) Youth for Peace and Security Africa, to help the people build a lasting peace to end the conflict. At the time, in 2013, I was 28 years old, and a managing director of a private institution in Eastern Region- Koforidua. I resigned from my well-paying job, emptied my bank savings, and sold my properties so I could continue to fund that intervention to the end of the project. I relocated to the dangerous and ravaged communities of Alavanyo and Nkonya, randomly camping in houses for over a year. Camping in the communities was very central to investigating the bases of the conflict to isolate the many and varied internal and external interests, fear, threats and concerns in the conflict. This was the only way I could build an informed, inhabitant-based, and inclusive roadmap solution to end the conflict. The progress and the successes were unprecedented and that was even acknowledge by the Biakoye District Assembly.
From day one and the beginning of that project I engaged all the so called stakeholders. That included, The Volta Regional Coordinating Council, The Regional Peace Council, The Hohoe Municipal Assembly, The Biakoye District Assembly, The Chief and Elders of Both Towns and the Community Members. Though the minister then indicated they were not going to fund the project I was giving them and other relevant institution, regular reports on the progress of the projects. They were invited to major meetings and conferences during the project, of which majority they did not attend.
After nine months, so many activities, mobilizing the people into various working associations, groups and committees to perform specific tasks; expanding internal reconciliations to heal victims of the conflict and prepare the minds of the people for a lasting peace; and laying the ground for the commencement of the peace-talk between the two parts, hope for a lasting peace was on the face of many people in the communities.
At this stage I started receiving unwelcoming and inexplicable attitudes from The Volta Regional Minister and some Members of the Ministry and the Volta Regional Peace Council. Though they said they were been embarrassed by the progress and the success of the peace process, and were concerned that they were not getting any credit, it still does not make sense to me. Mind you, during my investigations, I discovered that there are network of people including some invisible public authorities cashing on the conflict, in illegal lumbering, large marijuana farming and trade, and moneys for so called peacekeeping operations.
One day, on my way to a meeting in a community I received a call from unknown number who warned me that on my way to where I was going people were positioned to kill me. I took the warning seriously and returned to my base. The project still continued anyway. Later, I was invited to the Volta regional ministry and met the then minister, the deputy, the director, and other members. I was given a specific instructions to suspend the project with no explanation. They said if it was job I wanted they could help me or if it was conflict I wanted to resolve then I should park and go to Nkwanta-North. I resisted and insisted on continuing the project especially that I was funding the project myself and that did a lot over the nine-month camping there to prepare the people for the peace-talk.
They then started making up stories and destroying me to the military and the police on the ground who I was working with from day one of the project. They made sure the hall we were to use at the Kpando municipal assembly for the peace-talk was cancelled. The unwarranted and unexplainable coordinated attacks from those public authorities became very dangerous and too much for me so in January, 2015 I packed my things and came back to Accra. I have not given up because of these, actually, I have even become more encouraged to work to help my countries from the grip of such corrupt and inept leaders. I still have interest in saving lives and even doing more and expanding. I also want to work and build community schools around the country to deal with the issues of schools-under-trees. We must address this.
Abraham Korbla Klutsey
Youth for Peace and Security- Africa (YPSA)
Citizens Network for Peace and Security in Africa (CNPSA)
Recognition: Ghana Peace Award 2016
Participant: ECOWAS-Giaba policy conference on terrorism in West-Africa, Senegal and Benin
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