Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings is calling for a paradigm shift in addressing security challenges posed by nomadic herdsmen in the West African sub-region.
The MP said stakeholders must work together to identify pragmatic solutions that will stand the test of time, suggesting that treating the herdsmen as international travelers is one possible solution.
The Deputy Ranking member on the Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament explained that as states become more established and people become more territorial, the movement of such persons in and out of territories, would have to be treated the same way we treat any international travel.
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings said once there is clarity on the immigration status of these nomadic travelers across the region, the herdsmen will learn to carry documentation and go through due process before entering a country.
In an interview, she said, there must be a strict identification process, and specific areas allocated for them to move in and out. This, she indicated would bring checks and balances in the activities of these nomadic herdsmen.
“We cannot go on pretending as if it is not creating some friction within our various countries, because that is what is resulting in a lot of instability, conflict and loss of lives; and we must not allow nomadic practice which we have lived with for centuries now become a source of conflict,” the MP for Klottey Korle added.
The nomadic practice, she said is driven by climate and seasonal changes, forcing the herdsmen to move around to ensure they have access to water and grass for their cattle.
“We can address this not only in just Ghana but within the sub-region. This is a problem that has become almost endemic within the sub-region, and so is it a case of tagging the cattle to ensure that their movement can be monitored?” When you travel across international borders with a dog, you need a passport, so should we be looking at a situation where if you have your cattle it has to be tagged or identified in some form, before entering another country and how many are coming in?”
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings further added that with that approach, there is the need to involve veterinary services as part of border control, “because it is not going away and it is getting worse and the crime statistics from this year are so disturbing, we need to address this effectively before it gets out of hand”, she emphasized.
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings again noted that, “the scramble for limited resources such as water and access to feeding for the herds usually lead to clashes. We should not forget there are people within the country who own some of these animals that the herdsmen attend to. We should have an honest conversation and have a stakeholder’s engagement on how to address it.”
“If you have paid attention to some of the statistics, there has been a rise in kidnapping in Ghana, and a lot of the kidnapping is happening within the Fulani communities and huge ransoms have been paid out there. There is a lot of violence between the herdsmen and indigenes,” Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings stated.
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