The Oti Regional Minister in Ghana, Hon Joshua Makubu, has described as embarrassing the fact that leaders of the longstanding conflict in Nkwanta are practicing Catholics.
The Minister, himself a devout Catholic, is expressing concern over the escalating chieftaincy and land disputes that have disrupted the peace in the region noting the involvement of key leaders from feuding factions who are not only Catholics but active communicants within the Church.
Speaking in an address during the Climax Mass of the 140th-anniversary celebrations of the Ghana Province of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (OLA), on December 30, the Minister called on the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference to urgently intervene.
“I want to, in a special way, seek your intervention. As the Catholic Church, those of us in Nkwanta, we are becoming a nuisance and an embarrassment to the Catholic faith,” Minister Makubu declared.
The Minister mentioned Nana Kenewu Cheddere, the leader of the Challas, Nana Lupuwura Sewura II, the paramount chief of Akyode, and the representative of the paramount chief of the Adelle’s, all of whom are Catholics and communicants.
“Is the Church alone not enough for us to say whatever it is we hold and cherish that we have to kill others to get? We should replace that for the good things the Lord has done for us through the Church,” Minister Makubu passionately pleaded.
He further emphasized the prominent role of Catholics in influential positions, including the Municipal Chief Executive for Nkwanta South Municipality, and himself as the Oti Regional Minister, expressing disappointment that the church’s teachings seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the face of the ongoing conflict.
“I know my Bishop is doing all he can, but I think it has gotten to a point where the Catholic Church in Ghana would have to renew its evangelism and evangelize to those of us who are already Catholics and have gone through some of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church,” he urged.
In early January this year (2023), two persons were reported to have succumbed to gunshot wounds, with several others injured in a renewed ethnic conflict in the Nkwanta South Municipality.
The recent conflict began on December 31, 2023, resulting in the fatal shooting of a young man believed to be in his 30s and another person in Odomi near Nkwanta on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
This resurgence of violence stems from a clash between three ethnic groups in the area regarding the celebration of the Annual Yam Festival, scheduled for October 2023. Since then, numerous residents have lost their lives, prompting many to flee the municipality.
Meanwhile, a January 12 report by the GNA indicates that traditional leaders of the feuding factions in the Nkwanta South disturbances have succumbed to peace measures geared towards the stability of the area.
Traditional leaders of Adele, Challah and Akyode smoked the peace pipe and pledged to maintain the peace at the Oti Regional Coordinating Council (ORCC) under the auspices of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC).