The National Peace Council has cautioned the youth in Karaga Constituency in the Northern Region ahead of the 2024 general elections not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to foment trouble during political campaigns.
According to the Peace Council Karaga is a hotspot constituency where political rivalry results in violence. The council thus urged them to use nonviolent means to resolve their differences.
Speaking at a brief ceremony in Karaga to inaugurate board members and a working committee of a youth group dubbed “Young Peace Ambassadors” (YPA) the Northern Regional Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, Father Thaddeus Kuusah said the formation of the group was laudable because it will complement the work of the peace council and the national security in the area.
“talking about the political violence for the 2020 elections, Karaga has been one of the districts that experienced lots of violence among all the districts in the Northern Region where people were “cutllassing” each other; so am excited that the Young Peace Ambassadors are here, immediately they should start talking with the political parties that differences are there because of our human nature but they should not be violent, they should try to use non-violent means of solving their problems ahead of 2024 general elections,” he said.
Father Kuusah however called on the political parties in the constituency to fully collaborate with the group in its activities noting that violence should not be a way to win elections.
The Executive Secretary also called on the chiefs and religious leaders to eschew tribal differences and discrimination in the area to ensure peaceful coexistence.
The Executive Director of Young Peace Ambassadors (YPA) Baba Kamal-deen said YPA focuses on peacebuilding because the area is noted for chieftaincy conflicts, tribal conflicts, religious conflicts, farmer-herder conflicts, and political violence.
He said as a youth organization their main focus is to bring change and transformation in the minds of the people in the area and how peace can bring development.
“where we are coming from and where we are, we are not immune to conflicts because our area is conflict prone so we decided to focus our attention on maintaining peace, educating young people and sometimes the elderly to embrace peace so that we can get the needed development and a prosperous future” he noted.
Mr. Kamal-deen thanked the Star Ghana Foundation and West Africa Civil Society Institute for their support and building their capacity.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Member of the Karaga District Assembly Ziblim Sulemana on his part said the Karaga District Assembly spends a huge chunk of its revenue in maintaining peace and security in the area. According to him, funds that are meant for project development are been used to maintain the needed peace in Karaga.
“Insecurity is a major challenge to our assembly, every year the amount of money that is been spent on insecurity issues is huge which is affecting the assembly when it comes to project development,” he said.
The Presiding Member however said even though the assembly is considering approval of its 2024 budget but is concerned about the insecurity in the district. He called for attitudinal change and unity for peace.
YPA is a network of young people drawn from different backgrounds to create equal space for all through sustainable peace where the rights of young people, minority groups, women, and vulnerable groups are respected.