|Alhaji Yusif Umar|
The Northern Regional Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Yusif Umar has confessed that there was growing concern among the leadership of the party as a result of intra-party conflict constantly perpetuated by the youth which in a way, was posing threat to the peace in the area.
According to him, the political conflict often perpetuated by the youth of the NDC as well as other opposition parties, was now becoming a thing of the past as conflict within the NDC itself was rather becoming worrisome to the party’s hierarchy from the National to the Constituency level.
Speaking at the launch of a non-violence project by the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) in Tamale where he together with other opposition political leaders jointly pledged their commitment and support towards peaceful elections in 2012, Alhaji Umar cited such current developments as unhealthy for the country’s democracy.
He maintained that the youth of the NDC were now constantly attacking leaders of the party anytime they suspected anything fishy without having the patience to seek explanation from them (leaders) and called on stakeholders to help deal with the problem.
The Northern Regional Secretary of the NDC further cited another worrying trend, which is religious intolerance among some sects in the region. He described as unfortunate the recent clash between two Islamic sects in Tamale (Tijania and Alhu Sunna) just after the Ramadan period which nearly escalated into another violent conflict.
The non-violence project of FOSDA dubbed “Ballots not Bullets” was introduced by the non-governmental organization in Ghana’s 2004 elections and has since been used in elections in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Togo, according to Executive Director, Ms. Afi Yakubu.
She explained that, the project intended to bring together an estimated 200 young people from 16 organized youth groups to work with security personnel, political party representatives, and peace advocates to plan a range of activities designed to stop violent disruptions before they happen.
Participants in the project would among other things map out locations of potential conflict, identify sources of agitation, develop contacts in all sectors of the communities and monitor early warning signals of conflicts before, during and after the 2012 elections, she said, adding “FOSDA will work with youth groups in seven flash points in the three regions of Northern Ghana. They include Tamale Central, Gushiegu, Yendi, Paga, Navrongo, Bawku and Wa.”
The Executive Director of FOSDA called on the President of the Republic, John Dramani Mahama, to stay committed to his pledge for peace during his recent address to the nation and come out with comprehensive and practical solution to the suffocating level of youth unemployment which is one of the causes of election-related violence in the country.