Understanding the Causes and Impacts of Conflicts in the Northern Region of Ghana

In this paper the causes and impacts of conflicts in Northern Region are examined, with particular reference to the Konkomba inter-ethnic conflicts. It situates the question of conflict within the context of the Northern Region of Ghana and defines conflict as a situation in which people, groups or individuals are involved in a serious disagreement or argument which degenerates into violence. Conflict can also be seen as antagonism between individuals or groups in society. An analysis of inter-ethnic conflicts in Northern Region reveals a pattern of struggle for paramountcy and autonomy. One of the main causes of conflict between Konkomba and other ethnic groups such as the Dagomba, Nanumba and Gonja is the struggle for paramountcy and autonomy. Land Ownership and control of land are another major source of ethnic conflicts in the Northern Region. Land has remained a thorny social, economic and political issue which has generated a lot of ethnic conflicts between Konkombas and Bimobas, Konkombas and Dagombas, Konkombas and Nanumbas, Konkombas and Gonjas, Gonjas and Nawuris and recently Konkombas and Nawuris. The study relies on a survey of 600 people in different parts of the Northern Region to ascertain the perceptions of people about conflicts in the region. The analysis suggests that almost all the respondants are of the view that an impending major conflict is likely to occur in the Northern Region. There is enough evidence to suggest that all ethnic groups that were involved in the major conflict in 1994 are stock piling arms to be used in the event of another ethnic war. This observation calls for an urgent examination of potential dangers of another inter ethnic and intra ethnic conflict.