This article explores the failure of top-level interventions in the resolution of local conflicts and the role of local agency in peacebuilding. The article relied primarily on qualitative techniques and instruments to collect data to examine why top-level interventions by successive governments have failed to resolve the Bawku chieftaincy conflict. The article finds that top-level interventions have failed to resolve the conflict because they are introduced with little to no participation by local communities. These interventions are, therefore, unable to garner grassroot support and commitment. In contrast, the BIEPC led peace process has been more successful in the management of the conflict because it is a bottom-up approach with representatives from the various ethnic groups working together in an attempt to find common solutions to their differences. The adoption of indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms provides inclusion and participation by the wider community, and also serves to restore communal harmony and relationship among the people, their ancestors and the gods of the community. In spite of recent setbacks in the peace process, the BIEPC offers the most promising route to the resolution of the structural causes of the conflict.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Gamel Aganah is currently with the Centre for Peace and Security Research at the University of Professional Studies, Accra. He previously worked with the National Peace Council as a Programmes Manager, where among other achievements he designed and facilitated the Council's intervention that led to the revival of the Bawku Inter-ethnic Peace Committee and the Bawku Peace Process. Dr. Aganah holds a PhD in Advanced Policy Studies from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo. His PhD dissertation analyzes the effects of government policies on the dynamics of ethno-political conflicts, and explores state-society collaboration in peacebuilding.


Bawku, Local Agency, chieftaincy conflict, indigenous mechanisms, peacebuilding, Northern Ghana





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